The thing with chickens is, they're tricky. Just when you think they have shown you every bit of poultry vandalism possible, they come up with something new that is so diabolical you wonder who taught it to them. Is there some kind of universal hive chicken mind? It really is incredible the destruction they can wreak. Especially as they don't have any hands. And once one of the little darlings has learnt a new destructive behaviour, it spreads like wildfire.
Last week, Gladys noticed the gaps between the paving slabs. She had probably seen the serama delicately nibbling the moss there and wondered if it was worth the effort. But Gladys doesn't do anything delicately. She is a clumsy and loud and full on sort of bird. So instead of gentle nibbling, she decided to use her face as a spade and effectively excavate the paving slabs. I was unimpressed by this new pastime, but hoped she would forget about it soon enough.
Ha. Some hope. And since I first noticed the face digging, she has recruited the others. Now the entire flock is busy playing archaeologist to my beautiful patio. I go out with the yard brush and attempt to sweep the sand back in to the gaps, but I know that I am Canute to the chickenny sea of determination. Even the serama are now at it. That patio has been down for over a year without any such attention. I am at a loss as to why they have all decided to destroy it now.
Experience tells me that it is an awful lot harder to get a chicken to forget something than it is to teach it in the first place. So I am being vigilant. Every time I see this undesirable behaviour, I am sweeping or watering the bird away. Problem is that my girls are far from scared or intimidated by me. Earlier, Mabel squatted in front of me while I dribbled water on her head from the watering can. Then she started to preen, for all the world like she was enjoying a helpful alfresco shower.
Back to the drawing board.