A glorious morning here in the midlands. For the first time this year, I was eager to pull on my wellies and get stuck in to the garden. The ravages of the winter were still apparent, but new promises of spring are cheerfully making their presence known. Now that the hens have been denied access to the border, bulbs are poking through the soil and buds are beginning to ripen on the rose bushes and shrubs. All in all, most satisfactory.
The chooks followed my progress as I pruned and weeded, and Mabel chattered away to me with her head on one side as if asking my opinion on something. Not being able to speak chicken, I think I rather disappointed her in not being able to help. As I worked, I left neat piles of clippings so that I could collect them later. Silly me. When I looked back I found that the girls had helpfully rearranged my piles all over the lawn, as they picked up various prunings and threw them around looking for bugs or tasty new growth. Chickens love to help with the gardening.
The serama tentatively explored the garden. Occassionally, Hilda or Gladys would chase them a bit before getting distracted and forgetting about them. I felt happy enough to leave them freeranging with the bigger girls and headed inside to fill the drinkers. As I gazed out of the kitchen window, contemplating crisps (as you do), I noticed that the flock had gone very tall and quiet. Uh oh. Dashing outside, I found the hunter cat stalking along the top of the fence, his predatory gaze fixed on the oblivious micro chickens. Waving the broom, I hissed at him and chased him away. Maeve watched me with interest, and a calculating expression across her chickenny chops. Merely minutes later, I lost sight of the tiny newbies and went searching. I found them by the side gate, and the hunter cat perched above them on the gate post. This might be a very real problem.
I have no wish to keep Betsy and Vera caged, and after all they need to do normal chicken things. So, I think the best solution will be to get some kind of movable enclosed run so that they can enjoy scratching, dustbathing, scoffing things etc without becoming some feline's latest toy. The stalking cat is the same one that Maeve saw off some months ago. However, a feisty pekin is a very different creature to a soft serama. Personally, I don't fancy their chances if it came down to a stand off.
After tidying away the pekins 'help', I sat on the back step with a cup of tea and surveyed my suburban idyll. The hens laid in shafts of sunlight, catching some rays. Even Betsy assumed the position, strangely with one leg pointing skywards. She looked a bit like she was auditioning for an exercise video. The gentle peace was shattered by a squeaky 'bok bok bok-ARK'. Human and chickens alike looked about, wondering if any of the neighbours ahd recently acquired chickens. Then Vera strutted around the corner in to view, throwing her head back and really going for it. I'm sure she meant to show us all who was boss, but frankly the noise was pathetic. A bit like she was bokking quietly in to a paper bag. If chickens could laugh, the others would have sniggered. As they can't, they just went back to their collective sun worship. Vera wound down with a vaguely embarassed air, and started preening.