Tuesday, 30 June 2009

I've been demoted

Last evening, I went to the bottom of the garden to enjoy the evening sunshine. I may have fallen asleep. How do you know if you've fallen asleep when you don't have a watch, you didn't plot the sun when you sat down and it's still shining on you when you next notice it?

Anyway, having wakened (if I was asleep), I noticed that the chickens were at the top of the garden on the path, so I went up to make sure they didn't go into the lettuce.

As I got onto the path the chickens started running towards me. At first, I thought they'd just missed me - the Big Chicken who Knows Where the Food Is. However, having reached about Mach 2, the lead chicken launched herself at me about chest height - my chest, not hers. She was clearly not coming for a cuddle. A nifty sidestep on my part avoided a collision. I was slightly taken aback, and only recovered my senses in time to see incoming Exochick number two heading my way at a slightly lower altitude. I was now stunned. Charlemagne, the cockerel, whose status in the flock is now obviously only slightly higher than mine, had clearly not been consulted about this attempted coup, as he was running around squawking - although maybe he was the planned diversion while they prepared for the second assault, but it never came. They obviously chickened out.

What was it about? What had I done?

Maybe I'll starve them for two days. That'll show them. In the meantime, I've called for an inquiry as to who hatched this plot.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

I am a chicken

Occasionally, the chickens are let out into the garden, but always under strict supervision. They immediately head for the sorrel, which they adore and we haven't yet found a use for, although I'm told it makes good soup. For the moment they are welcome to it. Unfortunately, they also like lettuce.

Yesterday, I mowed one of the wild flower beds. I escorted the chickens to the site, thinking they'd clean up the fallen seed heads and generally tidy the place, and I went to the bottom of the garden to enjoy the evening sunshine. In a matter of moments, I had 2 chickens and a cockerel around my feet. Given the size of the garden and what I thought would be obvious attractions to a chicken, I was somewhat taken aback by their attachment to me. I can only assume that they think I am the big chicken, who knows where the food is.

On the other hand, maybe I am a chicken.

Saturday, 27 June 2009


Coming home as evening was drawing in, we spotted a coypu in a field. On closer inspection, it was a mother (presumably) and 7 babies or whatever coypu young are called. She watched us warily and then they all scampered off into the grass at the side of a river. I crept closer to see if I could get another siting and watched the mother floating in the water as the young played on the water's edge on the other bank. Quite charming, although that's not how they are regarded amongst the farmers locally. They burrow into river banks and eat the crops. Given that the adults are about the size of a terrier, they do probably eat a lot.

The attached is from a local web site:-

Ragondin ("coypu") : semiaquatic herbivorous rodent from South-America; it can weigh several kilos. The coypu was bred for its fur. In Europe, the wild coypus come from animals escaped from farms. The coypu is officially declared vermin since 1988 : eaten into by the galleries, the river banks collapse, the trees are uprooted; the flukes proliferate; the crops are devastated (young corn plants cut at the base to be eaten). The coypu is also called "the hare of the marshes"; it is said that its meat makes excellent pâtés