Wednesday, 16 November 2011

When Two Worlds Collide

The puppy has been here for nearly two months now. The chooks have gone from utter panic every time they catch sight of the crazy mutt to mild annoyance when he leaps at the Palace walls. In fact, now they tend to tell him off in very scolding tones and continue preening/eating/gossiping. He is a slow learner, however, and still likes to leap up and get them flapping. Naturally, this particular integration needs very careful handling. After all, this interloper has a long snout full of teeth and the urge to chase. Even the fearsome ASBO Chicken might have a problem pecking him in to submission. So, operation Desensitise Jasper has begun. It basically involves this:

Sophisticated, huh? Yep, I tether the puppy to the outside tap while I'm cleaning out the hens. The girls avoid him at all costs, and he is rewarded every time I walk past if he is sat quietly and not slathering at the chops with murder in his eyes (Disclaimer: I have never seen murder in his eyes, more 'Ooh! Feathers! Moving! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!'). So far, so good. Today was the third time of trying this out, and he barked and fussed much less. Phew.

The girls are watching these developments with a beady eye. I am placating them with tinnned sweetcorn and extra deep bedding. No one has left home yet.

Just to prove that no one has been eaten, here are some pics taken on this grey yet freakily mild November day:

Celia, Maeve and Maude. Only Maude looks her best at the moment, as she moulted a few months ago. For some reason, the camera always turns Celia in to a ghost chicken. As you can see, Maeve is much reduced at the moment, and seriously annoyed about it. Hidden from view in the nest box behind Maeve is a still broody Hilda. Sigh.

My lovely, camera loving Vera.

Flo, almost grown up. The face furniture is reddening nicely, but I'm not expecting any eggs until early next year. You can just see Winnie's flares in the top right corner. She does not like her picture being taken.

Mabel and Betsy are also alive and well, they just were just too busy eating the leftovers of Jasper's breakfast to pose. Revenge is a dish best served from the dog's bowl, it seems.

Jasper munching a raw carrot, while Flo, Winnie and Gladys eat his kibble. That'll teach him.

By the summer, I expect to be able to live in a harmonious household, where chickens and spaniel coexist and share grapes. Maybe.


  1. Good luck with that! Our spaniel has never learnt to ignore hens, only to chase and catch them, with fatal consequences. Not for nothing do we have a sign saying Check for Chickens First on the back door.
    Gorgeous pics. Chickens are so photogenic, yours especially.

  2. Love seeing them ALL growing up.

    No grapes for dogs, though, unless you want the chickens to have an inadvertent and rather fatal revenge. They can share the tinned corn!