Cast - Me (Mum), 18 y.o Daughter, 20mth old Son
Starring - (in pecking order) Gorgeous, Curious, Rasputia, Penny, Tufty, Priscilla
Not long after those unruly chickens had been grounded to their own garden, did they soon plan and execute an escape. The girls frequently meet behind their mansion, out of sight. We can hear them clucking away, but when we approach they quickly disband and act like nothing has happened. Chicken union??? Staff meetings??
Anyway, with another day of rain, the three of us were stuck inside. After vigorous play-doh and drawing activities, followed by intermittent play with cars and plastic animals, we decided to put on a DVD for 20mth old and have a coffee. Gazing out over our beautiful property, looking lush yet cold in the downpour, I spied movement in the garden behind the fence...it was that damn Rasputia, with Curious and Gorgeous - pecking away in the garden!
Let me explain a little about the fencing of the garden...we have fenced the back garden into two large areas. One is for 20mth old to play safely, without wondering off into paddocks, dams, springs etc. The other area is the chickens' paradise, which is accessible via gates by the side of the house, and is separated in one area by a single fence under a garden arch, via which 20mth old feeds the girls sticks and leaves (that they obligingly take and then peck his fat fingers, so the whole exercise ends in tears but is repeated each day regardless). Between the two fenced off areas, is my garden, protected from both the chickens and 20 months. It is into this garden, between the fences, that the girls were now exploring.
After the next deluge of rain, Daughter and I went out to investigate. All of the girls (lead by Gorgeous) had jumped over the wood which barricaded their area off, and gotten into the garden that way. Instead of just walking through my plants, they were now under the verandah, looking at us from under the steps! As I berated them, and they ignored me in that special chicken way, Gorgeous realised that she could now access 20 months' area by crawling through the steps. So through she went, looking very pleased with herself, and instructed the others to follow suit with a conspiritorial 'buuurrrrkk'. Taking no heed to my heated threats, the six naughty girls now pecked around on the lawn at the bottom of the steps to the verandah. Adding insult to injury, they not only pecked the grass, but toileted profusely everywhere!!
20 months has lost interest in Playschool DVD, and spying the chickens on the lawn, is banging on the window. The rain hits in again, driving Daughter and I back inside. The girls however, are nonplussed and continue feeding and fertilizing. Watching the naughty chickens from inside, we discuss how we will have to catch the wet chooks, and hurl them individually over the fence and back into their area. As I am cleaning up the toy-fest, Daughter calls me to the window. Obviously seeking refuge from the rain, Gorgeous and Curious have climbed the steps and are up on the verandah. I can't help but laugh when, spying us inside, the girls' curiosity gets the better of them and they approach the bay windows for a nosey inside.
It was as if Gorgeous was saying...'so that it where you live hey?'
The other girls soon joined the fearless two, and then we heard gales of laughter from 20 months as he too had spied those naughty chickens.
Now that they were all up on the verandah, they all had a good look inside. Whilst looking inside, the need to toilet again reared its ugly head, and there was chicken poo being splashed along the verandah! They had to be returned ASAP! I put 20 months to bed for his mid-day nap, then Daughter and I donned the gumboots and gave chase to those pesky chickens.
When chickens do not want to be caught, they run so fast! We must have looked hilarious, running laps around the garden, whilst the chickens dived and dodged between us. We thought up a better plan, and both of us armed with a toy golf club, attempted to herd the chickens through the gate and out into the paddock (where they could make their way back to their garden). We enjoyed a hectic five minutes, with a score of four chickens out through the gate. Tufty, Priscilla and that bloody Rasputia though, eluded our herding skills, and being bottom of the pecking order were quite adept at running away.
I decided that another coffee was required, and as it had begun to rain again, I went inside. Daughter was decided that these chooks were not going to get the better of her, so she shut the gate and started chasing the girls to the alcove in an attempt to catch and throw them back over the fence.
I dubbed her later as the 'Chicken Whisperer', as I watched from the comfort of the warm lounge room, my 18 y.o chased chooks and muttered to herself. Wielding two toy golf clubs, Daughter successfully herded the girls into the alcove and then tossed Rasputia over the fence. Whilst Rasputia was being tossed however , the other two ran away again. As I watched, occasionally choking on my coffee, Daughter repeated the same technique twice more. The other two girls were chucked over the fence, and Daughter was successful in her endeavour. It took me half an hour to disinfect and hose away the chook poo, the girls are grounded again, and the 'hole' in the fence has been fixed. :)