23/3/2020 0 Comments
All is calm in the coop, in fact the three little hens were in the coop for no particular reason in the middle of the day and so when Wilma joined them, I closed the door on them for the afternoon so Simon and I wouldn’t worry about them when we were out walking, talking about how we would arrange our days during the lock-down starting 48 hours from now. The hens usually all come running cheerfully enough in the evening when I lead them back into the coop for their dinner, but yesterday Wilma refused to set foot past the door, pacing back and forth in the little track between the coop wall and the bank below the feijoa grove, making plaintive little cries, not able to tell me what was wrong, and, in any case, showing no inclination to trust me at all. She clearly knew I would herd her into the coop if I could, and would even contemplate trying to catch her, and when she did at last venture tentatively out from her track to where I was patiently crouching with a handful of kibble, she darted and dodged back to her track at the slightest move from me. Eventually I gave up and left her to sleep out wherever she would, and this morning she hurried out from the feijoa grove to meet me, calling to me in the friendliest way when she saw me, and followed me straight in to the coop, only pausing for a moment at the coop door, and darting around the three hens who had started on the kibble I sprinkled near the door, to meet me at the other end of the coop where I presented her with the morning bowl of mash. I don’t know what had her so spooked, whether she had got on difficult terms with one or more of the other hens, or whether it was the coop clean-out that had unnerved her. I’d covered the ground of it with a nice layer of dried leaves I’d swept up from the front of the house, and perhaps the texture of them disconcerted her, or perhaps she was troubled by the diatomaceous earth I’d sprinkled around on the clean ground, reminding her, perhaps, of the terrible days of the mite treatments, before her return to health? Perhaps, also, the hens have been just a little too well fed the last few days. With Simon’s café closing during these days of the coronavirus epidemic, there soon will be no more strawberry muffins for the hens, but just for now there is rather a glut of muffins for them to get through. Hens that actually laid eggs would be good to have at a time like this, but mine at least have a contribution to make dealing with the left-over muffins.
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