The Turf Wars

 

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The sunshine was still here but there was a breeze to keep the hens cool, and they spent much of the day sitting in their favourite shady spot. This is the cool area under the two  Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ shrubs which over the years have fused together and are nowadays tightly pruned to form a perfect hen hideaway. The added advantage of this spot (for the hens) is that it is about as close to the back door as is possible, and separated from it only by the small fence we put up to allow us a designated “humans only” patio. Hens are very inclusive creatures and would of course colonise all human zones in moments, if encouraged. They do not like the fence as they would prefer to be able to colonise the back door area and from there to launch surprise expeditions into the utility room, which might yield booty – an unguarded dish of cat food, a few morsels dropped from the fridge, the odd sock fallen from the laundry basket. I wouldn’t put it past them!

Well, although the Lonicera was the coolest place to be today, it was not to be so for Araminta, who has found herself at the bottom of the pecking order. For her, the Lonicera is the place to go only when everyone else has gone somewhere else, and can’t see her. Then she hangs out hopefully and very politely, gazing wistfully through the fence  in case I happen by bearing FOOD!  If Sumo and Sushi, the ex-battery hens (sometimes known as the Bossy Posse) are around, Araminta has to stand at the back of everyone, so that she is positioned the furthest away from The Back Door. Even this is an improvement as formerly she wasn’t allowed to stand there at all. She is now allowed in a sort of hen hinterland, a pace or two behind Lily, and several paces behind the top three hens. Sometimes for apparently no reason at all, the higher hens  just chase her off, and poor Araminta has to go and talk to the starlings instead. Certainly when it comes to The Back Door/Lonicera zone, we all know whose turf that is – the lovely Sumo and Sushi own the debenture for that hot spot! Or should I say, that cool spot…

 

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