Saturday, 29 December 2012

Mischief and Consternation at Roost Time

Saturday 29th December 2012
After a night of howling winds,  
a glimpse of early morning sun before the rain set in.

For 45 minutes I stood in the cold tonight as the light faded to a gloom. 45 minutes waiting for the chickens, ducks and guinea fowl to put themselves away. 45 minutes while one of the guineas decided that no chicken, not even the largest and fiercest of the young cockerels, was going to get into their house without a severe dose of hassle.

There is a very complicated social hierarchy to be followed at roosting time. There's an order to be followed as the chickens enter their various houses. And each one needs to settle into position inside before the next can go in.
Now all this ceremony is fine and dandy until someone decides to do something different, to change houses for the night or turn up late. As soon as something changes, the whole process takes considerably longer, usually as I stand patiently, freezing or getting soaked, as various chickens go to roost only to emerge again, not happy with the order of things.

So you can imagine the consternation tonight as the mischievous guinea fowl decided to really put the cat among the pigeons (maybe not the most accurate of sayings to use). But then the guinea fowl have a tendency to take great delight in others' chaos. On the odd occasion that the roosting order goes awry, there will often be a cockerel left out, unsure whether to enter the coop or not. I'll often try to speed up proceedings by following said chicken round and round the chicken house, hoping that each time it passes the door it will take the opportunity to duck in and avoid my unwanted attention. While all this is going on, a dozen guinea fowl crane their necks, cackling and calling like observers at a gladiatorial contest.

A dawn flyover enlivened a grey sky on 28th
Thursday 27th December 2012
One of a series of featureless, grey sunrises

At least we're getting eggs again now. Between three and seven a day - omelette breakfasts again. Trudging around in the mud seems all the more worthwhile when there's a reasonable chance of a find in every hen house.

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