Just as the animals enjoy drinking from each other’s dishes – as reported previously, the dogs help themselves to water in the hen run and the Araucanas and Beau the Bengal love nothing better than taking refreshment from the dog bowl – lately, they’ve also started to explore each other’s living quarters! And in the case of the terrible twins, AKA Mabel and Audrey, it is our house that they’re interested in. The girls free-range when we’re around and they could wander off anywhere in the garden, but more often than not these days we find them hanging out with the dogs in the porch, leaving a fair number of droppings behind them. They can be there for hours, chirruping away, Mabel occasionally squawking at nothing in particular, as only she can. We don’t really understand quite why this part of the house holds so much appeal for them. If we leave the stable door open, we sometimes discover them getting acquainted with the utility room. What if they then got into the kitchen, through the hallway and managed to climb the stairs…? It would perhaps be more welcome and charming behaviour if there wasn’t the mess to avoid stepping in and clearing up. Does anyone else have chickens who are determined to invade your home?
There’s a much more transparent motive for Megan, our greediest Labrador, to be showing interest in the henhouse. Earlier this week we went down to the run and spent somehow time watching the flock pecking and scratching about. While we were distracted by stroking the friendly new pullets (who have settled in a treat), the sneaky but clever canine took her chance and made her way into the undercover pen, stealth-like, squeezed herself through the pop-hole of the coop, stuck her sizeable head into the nesting box and helped herself to an egg. We only discovered her deed when James noticed her mouth was slightly ajar and she had guilt written all over her chocolatey face. Admiring her determination and skill, we let her keep her prize! We’re collected the rest of the day’s clutch and then allowed her to attempt the same feat again – but this time the straw-lined bays were empty and, armed with a camera, we caught her in the act! Busted.