Thursday, 24 July 2008

Cat, Hen, Cat, Mouse,Littlee

We've had to be on our toes the last couple of days.

The Big Girls ranging area now includes a large bed, in the middle of which there is an enormous pampas grass. The Girls like to get in there and rook around, sometimes getting right into the pampas to nest.

Yesterday, Delilah was standing in front of one of her nesting places making a huge racket. Her volume is usually much quieter than Scarlett's, so there was obviously something not Not Quite Right. I went to investigate, and eventually spotted Washburn (our ginger cat) curled up in Delilah's pampas nest. He was well camouflaged. Delilah was standing right in front of him, he could have taken her out with out having to get up. But he just lay there watching Delilah squawk!

He was there for hours, he came in for dinner and went out again. We found him later on the other side of the pampas grass, again with Delilah right in front of him. This time though she was just rooking through the grass. Cool Cat! We're very proud of his restraint.

I'll post a pic later.

Oh, Milly escaped and walked along the Big Girls' fence line. Without any hesitation at all, Delilah poked her head through the netting and pecked Milly hard on the top of the head! Milly was uninjured, and it served to reassure us that we are doing the right thing keeping them apart until the Littlees are bigger.

Anyway, on to today.

Today, Milly continues to pop through the netting. She doesn't seem to try to escape, she just stretches for a bit of grass and pops through. We've doubled the netting up all over the place, and I have extra poles on order. This morning we were having brunch outside. One second (literally!) she was inside the netting, next second she was outside. Fortunately she's very happy to be handled, so she stopped to let me pick her up and pop her back. A few minutes later I saw her climb on a brick and walk through the netting again. This time she'd spotted a dead mouse that the Cat had left on the path.

She picked it up, I picked her up - complete with mouse - and put her back in the netting. Chickens love mouse, and will kill a mouse that ventures withing beak range. Jasmine was very interested in Milly's acquisition, and we were treated to the unforgettable sight of Milly running round with a mouse dangling by its tail from her beak, hotly pursued by Jasmine.

The details get a bit gory; after a few minutes Milly's beak had done its job and the mouse went in in one go.

The Big Girls - who have never shown any interest in the Cat's offerings - were very upset that Milly had something, and spent the whole of the time running up and down their fence line bokking furiously.

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