A fowl story


It is all over. I have eaten the last of our stored apples and the last of our summer sun dried tomatoes. The birds have eaten the last of their food on the bird table. We have had the spring equinox and the nights are getting shorter. I have seen a robin carrying moss and the blackbird is taking dried grass into my bay tree. I have not looked but you just know that there will be a perfect nest there ready to receive the female’s blue speckled eggs any time now.

Another good thing is that the collared dove which has been sitting around on its own all winter has paired up and suddenly two young doves have appeared. They must have built a nest in February and laid their two white eggs sitting on them for two weeks. How did they manage to look after their two nestlings in all that snow? I do not know but here are two young doves, without their parents’ collars yet, sitting begging for food on our patio – alive and well.

Talking of strange things that I have seen this week something unusual happened when I was driving through a small country town. We saw two people chasing a guinea fowl down the street. I knew it was a guinea fowl by its spotty body, its thin neck and small head. The bird was running ahead of them dodging pedestrians and flapping its wings.

At the post office it decided to cross the road and it somehow managed to weave in and out of the traffic followed by a woman with a sheet and a man racing after with a cardboard box. Presumably it had escaped and it was going to be their dinner. Maybe they hoped to recapture it. I did not think that they would have a chance.

Once when we went away a young friend offered to feed our hens, let them out in the morning and shut them up at night. All went well until the first night. We had asked if she would lock them up after dusk but thinking she could get the job done early she went in the daylight and tried to chase them into the hut. They were having none of it and even when she enlisted her mum and dad the hens squawked and scattered. Poultry cannot be driven easily; it is better to wait and watch then persuade them gently to do what you want.

I do not know if the guinea fowl was caught but my friend did not succeed with our hens even after an hour of trying. She declined to offer to help another time.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

Two doves together at last with one of the young - both survived the snow and gales.

Getting poultry to do what you want is not easy!



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