Cor. It's been a while since I last updated. Sorry about that. Things have been rather hectic chez Madchickenlady. But anyway, I now have a spare twenty minutes or so to catch up, so let's plough on.
Today, as in, right now, there are two men in my garden dgging it up. No, it's ok. There has been no disaster (unless you count the three months of solid rain we've all had to put up with). They are landscaping. Well, landscaping may be a bit of a grand title for what is actually happening. They are laying slabs which will house the new coop, gravelling around said slabs so that I can eventually plant chicken resistant plants, and also gravelling an area for the youngest's enormous trampoline. I am happy about this for several reasons. One, there is far too much grass out there at the moment. Seriously, cutting it all is a killer. But more importantly, two, the chickens will finally be on slabs, have aubiose to play in, and be safe from predators. And the hell hound.
Ah, yes, the hell hound. Since I last posted, he has launched a full on assault on my ladies. The new coop had a perspex window. Notice the use of the past tense. He headbutted through it, and we had to replace it with a metal grill vent (which, incidentally, is brilliant ventilation while also keeping the wind and rain out). He also leapt at the weld mesh near the ramp so much that the mesh began to come away from the frame. The ever tolerant husband had to crawl through the slimy, chicken poo soup floor of the run to repair that. He was not overly happy. And by far the worst crime? He managed to get his chops around Hilda.
It was one of those split second things. The ever tolerant husband opened the coop roof to see if he could fix something else that was dropping of it (Seriously, I miss the Palace every. Single. Day.), and Hilda made a bid for freedom. The dog was out the door and across the garden like lightening. Hilda squawked, the dog grabbed her and tossed her high in to the air, husband, Madchickenlady and eldest all ran around in a Benny Hill stylee trying to rescue her. In the end, the eldest stopped chasing and bellowed the 'LEAVE IT' command. The hell hound dropped the indignant chicken. I grabbed her. The dog was banished to his basket in disgrace. We all caught our breath, chicken included, then I gave her the once over. She wasn't missing so much as one feather, but had crapped herself explosively in terror. A quick rinse under the outside tap restored her to her brillaint white glory, and I popped her back in to the coop. She sat on the perch, preening herself indignantly, apparently untraumatised by being used as a shuttlecock by a very rude young dog. This is the second time he has managed to get his face wrapped around a chicken, and both times we managed to get away without any casualties. This hasn't made me complacent, but I am relieved that when he does catch one he mainly wants to play with it like a squeaky toy. There has so far been no attempt to dismember or consume. But with any luck he won't get another chance to test my theory. I have extra grey hair as a result of his antics.
So, Hilda escaped her ordeal with nothing but an embarassing toileting disaster. But other than that, she is fine. My mighty mille's are still going strong, although Maude seems to be going in to a bit of a mini moult. She is pale of face and reasonably bald right now, so I'm adding poultry spice to their grub and keeping an eye on her. Maeve, the fearsome ASBO Chicken, is still determinedly broody. Daily, I remove her from the nest box and plonk her on the lawn, where she sits flattened out like a malevolent beret, hissing at anyone that ventures near. So pretty much business as usual with the Evil One.
When the new coop is in situ I will take some pics.