Until recently I believed that a chicken’s life was a relatively simple one. They rise with the dawn and roost at dusk. The time in between is filled with pottering about looking for bugs, pecking at the grass and snoozing. Once a day there is the excitement of an egg. Granted, anything faintly unusual that happens in the garden, such as the mowing of the lawn, is a cause for consternation and fretful clucking. Or in Chicktoria’s case, panicked flapping accompanied by an expression of abject terror (although that can also be brought on by anything at all, including an aeroplane droning by at 40,000 feet). But as soon as this interruption is over, a chicken can safely go back to her peaceful existence. Or so I thought…
I’m pretty sure my chickens have had the builders in.
The hens do like to dig a nice hole, especially in a pristine flowerbed, and even more especially if a few tender young plants can be destroyed in the process. Then they like to sit in the hole, sometimes for a lovely dust-bath, but more often than not just for something to do. It’s probably the equivalent of forgetting what you are meant to be doing, collapsing onto the sofa and staring into space for five minutes (or is that just me?).
Holes are normal and there are several in evidence in the chicken enclosure. Hattie made one, Henbley had a go, and The Black Chicken thinks she owns them all.
However, the other day I noticed something odd about the latest hole that has appeared on the edge of the lawn: it has corners. It’s a very neat rectangle. Far too neat to have been made with the dinosaur-like Claws of Destruction, or the slug-severing Beaks of Determined Pecking. I’m pretty certain that the chickens can’t use a set square and they don’t have a plumb line, so how have they created this perfect shape? The only logical conclusion is that they have paid a contractor with a small digger to excavate the footings for a building project they have in mind. Henbley seems to inspect the works daily. What are they building? I don’t like to speculate, but my money’s on a spring-loaded launch pad to make it even easier for them to escape into the vegetable patch.