Pecking Order


Meet Holly, Molly & Houdini. These three arrived from Tara a couple of weeks ago and suddenly we needed to get the hen house finished. I say “we” when I’ve hardly done a thing towards it being busy in other parts of the garden. The three hens have been cramped in a small run and box and the day they realised their fenced in world contained raised veg beds with gourmet bits for the taking… if they just squeezed past this bit of makeshift wire, was the day I began to think about Coq a Vin for dinner. Fortunately, Gilbert sensing murder got the hen house finished, complete with a ladder to a basement level and just on dusk with much fanfare and general clucking, moved them one by one to their new abode.

Its a bit like going from a DOC camp site to a hensuite in the Sheraton. Id even carefully selected branches and placed them at three different heights to allow for night time squabbles giving room for all. We said goodnight, shut the door and I thought “let the pecking order begin!”  

I peeked back after dark & found Molly & Houdini cuddled up together in one of the nesting boxes and Holly on the top rung. We checked them next afternoon and the stupid idiots hadn’t figured out how to go down the open trap door & ladder for food so Gilbert & I had to both go in to crowd them into one corner & I pushed them down the gap amid feathers flying and a great deal of noise but once down there they greedily fed and watered like there was no tomorrow. Apparently they can die pretty quickly so another day & there ACTUALLY may have been no tomorrow:(  

I came home tonight & checked, hoping like hell they’d figured out how to get back up the ladder as there was no way I was going to crawl under there to teach them how to use the ladder to get back up, and there they were. Holly on the top rung, Molly & Houdini cuddled together on the next one down. Lindy told me her EIGHT hens all roost together squished up on the top rung. Not one of them willing to give way and get down a rung and she said there can be a half hour song and dance as they all settle in for night. I find that hilarious and Im really looking forward to having hens as part of our menagerie and maybe even an egg or two?  

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