We awoke to a slight covering of snow this morning. Despite having hideous woman-flu, I dragged myself out of my warm bed so that I could attend to the birds. Trudging across the frozen ground in my dressing gown and boots I'm sure I cut a very stylish figure. The hens were nowhere to be seen. I found them all huddled together on the perch block looking thoroughly unimpressed.
They seem to remember the white stuff from earlier this year and are having nothing to do with it. In fact, the insolent weather has had the sheer cheek of encroaching in to the Palace's run. It has even dared to cover the bottom half of the ramp. When I replaced the thawed out drinker I watched in great amusement as eight grumbling hens made their way gingerly down the ramp to the very edge of the snow. The lead hen, in this case Mabel, refused to step on the cold crunchy stuff and her sudden stop led to a squawking pile up. Much muttering and craning of necks occurred as everyone tried to work out what the hold up was. Maeve was bringing up the rear and still stuck in the coop. Everyone stayed still for a moment wondering what would happen next. What happened next is that Maeve pecked Celia hard on the bum, causing her to scarper from the ramp on to the run perch. Finding this method successful, Maeve continued dispatching her flockmates as she mooched determinedly towards breakfast. When the only obstacle in her way became the mighty Mabel she seriously considered more of the same tactics. However, a low bok from outr illustrious leader seemed to remind the younger hen of who was actually in charge around here. Wisely, Maeve backed up a little and broke eye contact. The other hens were by now stuffing their crops, and Mabel seemed to be quite deliberately keeping Maeve on the naughty step. I admired her technique. In fact, I took notes.
Eventually, everyone was fed and watered. The six older girls then immediately made their way back inside. The newbies however had never seen snow before and spent a happy ten minutes exploring it like inquisitive toddlers. Once it had been walked on, pecked at and eaten though the novelty wore off. Unfortunately the troublesome twosome were now in the border and scared to cross the white expanse to get back home. With some human assistance, they also legged it back in to the coop.
Pekins do not like snow.