We were eating breakfast this morning (not eggs, no one lays eggs) when Simon saw a hen crossing the lawn. Our hens have been spending more time on the lawn by the deck, when not on the deck itself, lately, almost as if they liked our company, but this was before they'd been let out of the coop for the day. Was it someone else's hen? No, that was Mabel alright, and when I went down to see what was going on, first Maude and then Wilma also came out of the shrubbery in a rush to see what I had for their breakfast (the usual pellets). I was a bit worried, especially as Goldie was nowhere to be seen - had a dog broken into the coop? But then I found the latch on the ground by the coop door, and realised I'd been opening it by turning it to the left, then closing it by turning it to the left, so that each time I'd opened and closed it I'd unscrewed it one turn further, until it was loose enough to just fall out with the slightest gust of wind. As for Goldie, she'd gone off in her own direction and was eventually coaxed out from the feijoa grove. I think she was just showing her customary independence, and love of perches, although she did hesitate at the door to the coop when Wilma loomed near, and didn't come in till I'd lured Wilma over to the feeding bowl, so possibly she was in the feijoa grove hiding out from Wilma. Everyone seemed cheerful and friendly enough throughout the day however, and when I went to check on the hens this evening Goldie was on the perch snuggled up close to Mabel, Wilma off to the side on the diagonal perch in the corner (she's hard to see in the dark, just a dark smudge). But where was Maude? She is a even harder to see in the dusk than Wilma is, being dusk-coloured herself, but I spotted her eventually sitting on the roof of the inner coop, under the perch where the others were perching. I thought she must just be a bit slower than the others at putting herself to bed, but when I came down about half an hour later, she was still on the roof while the others had all fallen asleep over her head. Perhaps she will sleep there all night? Perhaps she always sleeps there? The truth is I haven't looked in on the hens sleeping for a long time, perhaps not since the nights following that astonishing, dramatic night when I first left the inner coop door open overnight, and found Goldie had made the bold move of flying up to Wilma's perch. The next night, Maude and Mabel slept on the coop roof but by the third night, all the hens were up on the highest perch. Has Maude since grown too heavy to fly so high? Or will she fly up there later? Will I be going down in the dark, with a torch?