A Marauding Hen

Sometimes, I swear there is something in the air that makes the chickens go loopy. When I arrived down on site this evening, there was so sign that this would be a rather eventful visit. Stopping by the Nest House, I collected four eggs which made a total of ten for today! I organised the equipment I needed to clean out the nest box in the new coop and lugged it across.

When I arrived into the coop, I was immediately accosted by the littlest partridge bantam who settled on my shoulder and began nudging me for treats. I let her have first dibs on the sunflower seeds before putting the rest into the food bowl for the others. Needless to say Flora managed to get under my feet, under the food bowl and generally in the way whenever I turned. Exasperated, I shooed her out of the way and opened the nest box. The roof of the nest box is extremely heavy and I use a special piece of wood to hold it up while I clean it out.

As soon as the roof was up, Flora came inside. I waved her out. The second I looked away from the door, there she was again. It got worse. Each time I took a dustpan full of old bedding out, she would walk forward and start scratching in the pile of old bedding I had carefully swept towards the door. By the time the old bedding was out, I had lost track of how many times I had to remove Flora from the nest box. But Flora wasn’t done yet. Her next trick was to repeatedly try and drink from the pressure washer which contained anti-mite fluid. I know chickens have a strong constitution but I was fairly certain that drinking fluid designed to kill off mites would be damaging to her. Each time I shoved her out of the nest box, she would reappear within seconds, trying to drink from the puddles at the bottom of the nest box. I was torn as she wouldn’t leave the puddles alone without me constantly shooing her away but in order to put a stop to her behaviour, I would have to leave her unattended for a few seconds as I ran around into the run and blocked the nest box entrance.

Getting increasingly frustrated with her, I ran into the run and blocked the nest box entrance. Satisfied that I had put an end to Flora’s antics, I turned around to leave. To my horror, I discovered Flora outside the run accompanied by Gordon and one of the partridge bantam girls! What I called her cannot be printed but I grabbed her and put her back into the coop. Quickly, I caught Gordon and turned to put him inside only to be greeted by the sight of Flora in front of me. She had got out again! I rather unceremoniously lobbed Gordon at her which made her retreat back inside and I slammed the door closed. Unfortunately, the sound of the indignant shrieks and the slamming of the door had startled the bantam so catching her took a little longer. A few minutes later, I had her and deposited her into the run where she, Gordon and the incorrigible Flora were strutting proudly around the coop.

Threatening to withhold treats for the next week seemed to have some effect as I was allowed to finish the cleaning in peace. As always, Flora showed no interest in the fresh, clean nest box when it was done. I left, muttering about the contrary nature of chickens…

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