Sunday, 28 February 2010

Pogo's Leg

DH and I noticed, independantly, that Pogo has been flexing her bad leg as she pogos around.  When she's hopping forward, her bad foot has an involuntary movement, as though its trying to work.  

It's also lowering from time to time - nowhere near the ground, but it's not always tucked up.  Of course it could be that she's just not capable of holding it up anymore.

She's eating well.

Roll on tomorrow.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Teeny Weeny Egg

Just been out to put everyone in their secure runs, and I thought I'd take a peek in the nestbox in case silverring had been laying.

And she had!

A teeny weeny little egg, weighing in at 34g. 

Pogo (PegLeg) Pictures

Pegleg (or Pogo, which describes her more accurately) and the silver-ringed hen are settling in nicely.  SilverRing has also started to make herself at home in the nestbox, spending quite a lot of time today tidying it up.  She's exhibiting broody behaviour, which puzzles us a bit as she hasn't, as far as we know, started to lay yet! Maybe she's feeling the advent of her First Egg, and is getting ready?

Pogo is is pogoing around, and eating happily.  She sits down on the ground from time to time.  They were both very vocal today, they aren't used to being confined to such a small run.    So, we dug out some more netting and made them a bit of a free range area outside the Eglu run.

Of course one of them had to escape while it was being assembled, but it looked like an accidental escape as she was happy to be caught and put back in the pen.

Here's Pogo: 

Here's SilverRing:

Here's SilverRing, nesting:

Friday, 26 February 2010

PegLeg. Again.

So, PegLeg came home and was popped into the Eglu run.  She ran - or rather, hopped - straight into the Eglu, and wouldn't come out.  It was incredibly windy, so I thought that was probably a contributory factor.

I popped some pasta into the run when I gave the Garden Girls their afternoon treat.  She stayed in the Eglu.

I popped some corn into the run when I gave the Girls their evenng corn and shut them up into their run at 5.30. PegLeg stayed in the Eglu.

At 6pm I phoned DH and asked him to go to the Allotment and to bring back one of the others. Grey-ring probably,  as Mrs Flint and BlueRing are both laying now and should stay at the allotment.  PegLeg has never been on her own, and I think that she is probably feeling very lonely as well as unsure of her new environment.  To avoid reintegration issues for the companion hen, in case anything happens to PegLeg,  I think we'll need to do a companion swap on Sunday night or Monday morning.

I know I'm being a bit of a girly, but I do just want to do The Right Thing.


The hopping chicken, who looks very bright and active despite her hopping, has blood on her comb.  If we were proper chicken farmers, we'd just dispatch her, as it's not cost-effective to get veterinary treatment. That's not as callous as it sounds - if a bird is given antibiotics, its no longer suitable for the table.
However, we won't just dispatch her. If she was looking miserable or huddled, we would do it immediately - but she doesn't.   Having made the decision not to dispatch her,  then of course we do need to take her to see the Vet just as we would if she was one of our Garden Girls.  

The earliest our chicken-specialist Vet can see us is Monday morning, so DH is bringing her home. "Name of Pet?", the nurse asked.  So she's now got a name - Peg. (as in PegLeg)  It's fatal giving your working birds names.

Now, let's assume she gets better.  She'll be out of the flock for a few days, and we may have problems reintroducing her.  So, my immediate thought was that we should bring one of the others back as well.   We discussed which one (as we don't know who has been pecking her).  Mrs Flint and Blue-Ring are the two who are laying, and they are the likely culprits.  Norman is still an unknown quantity, so it could be himher.  The only one that I know wasn't involved in the earlier trouble is GreyRing,  so by a process of elimination, I selected her.

But then I thought, what if Peg doesn't make it? Then GreyRing will have to be reintroduced. 

So, we've now revised the Plan.  DH will bring PegLeg home.  When we've seen the Vet on Monday and we know what the prognosis is, we'll decide whether to bring someone else home to keep her company.

Thursday, 25 February 2010


This morning, Mrs Flint looked much better.  When I let her out into her own little run first thing, she was busy munching grass and calling for other birds.  We were going out for the day, so we had to leave her to it.

We got back at about 4.30pm and I opened the run door to get her. She came towards me, then zoomed past me into the garden.  She led me a merry dance in the rain while I tried to recapture her.  Fortunately for me, she get herself into a corner, so I could pick her up and bring her in.

I bathed her comb and face,  and most of the blood came off.  There is a cut on her comb, which we covered with purple spray.  She seems very brught, so we've decided to take her back to the allotment this evening, so she can settle back in with the others.
Two of the silver cockerels have been dispatched, and the other one is on his way to his new home.   The remaining bunch seem calm at the moment, hopefully Mrs F's reappearance won't disrupt things too much.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A bit of a disaster

DH was working at a Client site today, so I said I'd to to the allotment and put the birds away for the night.

What greeted me was awful.  Not as awful as poor John's recent discovery, but it was horrible.

Roo, Mrs and Mrs Too were fine.  I gave them some corn, and moved into the Dorking pen. 

There was a kerfuffle, and I saw a brown dorking being attacked by two of the Silvers and another brown;  I moved to intervene and saw another brown dorking (white ring) was  hopping rather than walking.  I tried to catch her, unsuccessfully. I couldn't chase her, obviously, so it was all done in slow motion.

Then I saw one of the silvers, the one with no rings, attacking another brown one. I couldn't see which it was.   WhiteRing climned the ladder (despite only being able to hop), so I was able to pick her up at the top.  While I was stroking her, there was another attack, so I put her down  while I tried to establish who was attacking who. 

Mrs Flint was the victim, and she ran into the house and sat in the nestbox.   At this point I phoned Other Chap (OC), who lives nearby,  for help.

While I waited for him, the birds started to go to bed.   The WonkyTailed Silver Dorking was staying out of trouble, as were Norman and the grey-ringed brown dorking.  Inside the house, I could hear more trouble, and I tried to work out what was happening. 

OC arrived, as did the pouring rain. The birds were all back outside at this point and the squabbling started again so OC saw for himself what was going on. Plkan of action was to put some bedding in the shed, and then get the Silvers (including the poor, innocent, WonkyTail) and put them in there. WIth them out of the way we could inspect the others one by one.WhiteRing, the one who could only hop, was not showing any obvious sign of injury.  We checked her leg and her foot, but couldn't find anything.  She wasn't showing any signs of distress (no hunching or anything), so we put her back while we checked the others. 

Mrs Flint was next. Sh had a cut on her comb and had blood down her face: that's why there had been a frenzy of attacking.   The blue-ring brown girl also had a bit of blood, but I couldn't tell whether it was hers or Mrs Flint's.

In the end,  we decided to leave WHiteRing in the coop and see what she was like tomorrw.   I would bring Mrs Flint home so she could recover in peace while we sort out what to do with everyone.    Fortuntately the Eglu was still outside, it just needed the run attaching. 

The Silver dorkings will be dealt with tomorrow.  OC knows someone who is looking for a cockerel, so one of them may well be rehomed, the others will be for the pot and will be despatched tomorrow.  

Any future cockerels will be dealt with at 18 weeks,  and we will separate them as soon as we know they are boys.  We should have done this, but ours were all so good natured we didn't think we needed to.

Lesson learned.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Here we go again!

12 eggs, ready to go in the  Incubator this evening!

The chap on a neighbouring allotment, the one who adopted two of our geese, has been hankering on having hens for some time now.  At the end of last year, we said we'd happily incubate eggs for him, if he decided what breed he wanted and provided he was prepared to deal with the cockerels (I believe it's important that if one opts to get fertile eggs, one is prepared to deal with the consequences).    He chose Light Sussex,  which is good because  any surplus boys can be grown on for the table and so will get 18 weeks of a happy free range life.   R has been (im)patiently waiting for fertile eggs to become available since then.

I bought some yesterday via Ebay, and we collected them this morning.   Before I bought the eggs, I checked on the AA website to see how far away from us this particuar village was.  I entered villagename, Hampshire  and the AA map showed the village as being near Basingstoke, just off the M3.  A bit of a journey,  but the M3 is fairly easy to get to, and a good run once you're on it.

When I bought the eggs and got the sellers postcode, I popped it into the AA website to find that it was actually a different village - same name - much further South.  Quite close to Portsmouth, in fact.  Oh well, it was too late by then, and once you're in the car an extra twenty or thirty (or forty as it turned out) miles doesn't matter too much....

Weather this morning was vile.  TomTom selected a cross country route for us,  and I'm really pleased it did.  We went through some gorgeous countryside,  achingly beautifyl villages,  past lots of watercress places.....
And the lady at the other end was lovely. Lots of chooks, all sorts, and more besides.
Anyway. We're home now, and the eggs are in the study settling down.  The Incy has been running since yesterday,  and we're going to set the eggs tonight.

I'm really happy to do this because we get the fun of raising itty bitty little chicks,  and I know they will have a wonderful life with R.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Allotment Update

I haven't accompanied DH to the allotment for over a week now (been working), so I only have info from DH to impart.

One of the baby brown-egg-Dorkings has started to lay? We don't know which one, but we're now regularly getting two eggs in the nest box. One shiny one from Mrs Flint and one smaller, less shiny one.

Mrs Flint seems to be managing OK, we're keeping an eye on her. 
The rest of the gang haven't quite got the hang of using their new coop,  they queue up outside their old (closed) coop door in the evening. DH or other chap ends up having to escort them into the new coop at night.

We're probably going to have to fence off the old coop for a while, so they can't get to the door.

One of the Mrss Roo (how do you write the plural of Mrs?) is laying reasonably regularly, the other one hasn't started.  We're moving them on to breeders pellets at the weekend.
No other news at the moment.  I'll see them myselves at the weekend and will let you know how they are all getting on.

Just Like That

We went to see Clive Mantle playing Tommy Cooper in "Just Like That" last night.    I heard him doing a piece Radio 4 and he sounded so convincing I decided we should try and get tickets.  The nearest venue to us - which isn't actually very near at all - was Guildford, and I managed to get two tickets.

He made a very convincing Tommy Cooper - he's the right height for it, and he had the stance and voice off perfectly.   For the first half of the Act, he's doing Tommy Cooper's act.  The jokes, the tricks, everything exactly as one might remember it.

The second half of the show started with Tommy in his dressing room in the interval of his show.  It was very revealing;   I was very young when Tommy Cooper died, so all I remember was his show - I didn't know anything about the man behind the act.    And then Tommy does the second half of his show.

It was very funny,  and very poignant.   

If you liked Tommy Cooper, then definitely try and see this show!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


What a gorgeous day it's been, very spring-like!

I spent most of it working, sadly, but I did get out at about 4pm to turn the compost.  DH emptied one compost bin onto the veg plot and dug it in,  and he then turned bin 2 into bin 1. This is all pretty much ready to use.

I did bin 3 into 2, and bin 4 into 3.  I didn't have the energy to do the last, small, bin. I had a peek inside and it's all horrible and dry, so it'll take me a while to sort it out. 

I've asked DH to put some "activator" into bins 2 and 3.  I'd do it myself, but it has to be manly to work. Tee hee! (sorry if that's TMI).

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Egg eater?

I didn't get to collect the eggs on Sunday. I was working (from home) from 10.15 until about 7.15, stopping only for one cup of tea.

Yesterday DH checked for eggs and found a real mess.  There were 5 eggs in the nest box, of which 2 were broken.  One was crushed completely (it could have been a Delilah egg as she's been threatening to lay for days now; her egg shells are very thin and fragile),  and one had a big hole in it.  We aren't sure whether it was an accidental foot hole,  or whether it was a beak hole.  The shell had no egg in, but there was such a mess from the crushed egg it was impossible to tell whether it was goo from one or two eggs.

DH also managed to drop one of the three remaining eggs, trying to hold everything and clean out the gunk.

Today we've been down to the nest box several times and have collected two eggs so far : one from Daisy, one from Lily.

I do hope we don't have an egg eater.  Not only will it be difficult to work out who the culprit is, it's a difficult thing to stop once it starts.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Putting the Girls to Work

The Girls do a fantastic job of raking out our flower beds, and clearing dead or dying grass from the "lawn".  

This morning, I've moved them onto fresh grass with a new flower bed (complete with handy shrub for them to sit under), and I then spent an hour or so raking up all the debris they had chucked out of the previous flower bed and grass.  I'm always amazed at the quantity of stuff they manage to rook out.

It all looked neat and tidy - a rare moment with free range hens - so I went off to clean out their henhouse.   

It normally takes me about 10 minutes to (a) pour the contents - newspaper, Aubiose, poo -  of each poo tray into a carrier bag,  (b) wipe each tray down with damp kitchen towel (c)  line with fresh newspaper, sprinkle on more Aubiose, (d) wipe down the roosting bars, (e) put it all back,  and (f) tie up the bag and bin it.  Today it took a bit longer, as there was blood spattered around the house.  Looks like someone had a small wound on a wattle or comb, and shook their head.   I also took the opportunity to empty the nest boxes and refill with fresh Aubiose and some louse powder (mmm, love that smell!).  

When I got back to the house,  the Girls had already started excavations, and my "lawn" is littered with debris.  Never mind.  They are having a great time, lots of new areas to explore, worms and bugs to eat.

I'm going back out now as I want to rake through their Run and put down some Stalosan. I normally do this once a week (with a complete change every 6-8 weeks) but the weather has been appalling, and it's been two weeks now.  I;m sure it won't matter...but if I let myself slacken off to 2 weeks,  it'll then slip to 3....


Thursday, 11 February 2010

To Bee or Not To Bee

We've just finished a really interesting course at Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA).

Some years ago now, when I mentioned "chickens" to my DH,  he was really not impressed and was adamant that there would be No Chickens Here.  I mentioned bees as an alternative (not meaning it at all) and, to my surprise, he said he wouldn't mind bees.

As it happens, I got the chickens.  We have said, in passing and only occasionally, that bees might be the next step. (Not sure where the steps were meant to be going!).    

Then I saw a Bee Keeping Taster Session being advertised at BCA. I booked us on taster session last September,  expecting that I'd come away thinking "interesting, yes; will I do it? - no.).   To my surprise, I found it quite interesting.    We signed up for the introductory course, which started in January.

Every week, I found myself getting more interested.  Reg (40+ years experience) and Kate (10 years experience), who run the course, really love their bees, and their enthusiasm is infectious.
Each week, I came away saying, I really enjoyed that, but I'm still not sure I'd do it really.

This week was the last week of the course.  The week before, I tried to pinpoint why I wasn't in the "when can I get my Nuc of bees" frame of mind.   I eventually managed to get it out as "I don't know if I want another entity of things to be responsible for".  Siting the bees,  and the routine checks, and the busy time at peak season, aren't a problem.  Going away isn't a problem.   It's just another species of things to have to consider.

Last week we were debating whether or not to sign up for the practical course.  On a cost-per-student-per-week it's really good value.  But when there are two of you doing it, and paying up front,  it seems quite expensive - especially when we relate the cost of the course to the cost of setting up our own hive.   However, we've decided it will be a good investment.   Apart from the obvious benefit of  learning from experts, there is one fundamental thing it will help with:  can we cope with the bees themselves?!

If we can't cope, or we can but don't really want to, then we will have saved ourselves the cost and upheaval (not to mention saving the bees the disruption) of getting our own bees.  And if we do get on OK with it? We'll be able to make a fully informed decision on whether to go ahead with our own hive. Or not.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Too many cockerels

The cockerel situation now needs resolving.

The now-not-so-Littlee cockerels are, presumably, reaching sexual maturity,  as there is there is a lot of stuff going on.  Some of it is serious: Flint, understandably,  is getting more aggressive;   this is mostly manageable, but sometimes he's a little s*d.  Yesterday evening, DH was crouching down offering corn from a pot.  Even Flint came to take some, but then he seemed to suddenly realise what he was doing, and he attacked DH.  DH wasn't ready for it, and actually fell over from his crouching position.  Flint had torn through DH's leather glove,  and DH's hand is really swollen and bruised.

Some of it is actually quite comical: Norman the Orphan has started to copy his dad.  He's still very small,  but he's now trying to fluff up and be the big "I am".  When he does it to the other chickens, they  just peck him on the head. and that stops it.  When he does it to DH, it's usually accompanied by an attempt at a HongKong Phooey chop. DH just scoops Norm up, which puts an end to that.

So, it's obviously time to separate and/or cull the cockerels,  and we've been trying to decide what to do for the best.  We want one cockerel for breeding, that's all.

After a lot of discussion, we've decided that Flint needs to be removed from the equation.  The reason for this is that he is related to Mrs Flint,  and he is the father of all our brown dorkings.     Blue,  the biggest of the silver dorkings, and the one we know is a cockerel,  is not related at all to Mrs Flint of the brown dorkings.  At worst, he may be brother to the other 2 silver dorkings (which may or may not be female),  and so from a breeding point of view,  it's probably best to keep him rather than Flint.

The good news for Flint is that he will not end up in the pot.  A neighbouring farmer, who keeps chickens,  is looking to replace his cockerel,  and has asked if he can have Flint (I'm sure he would have been equally happy to  take  Blue instead,  but we'd already worked out what was best for us rom a new-blood point of view).

We also considered what to do with Mrs Flint.  Would she be "happier" staying with us (without Flint), or would she be "happier" going with him.   In the end, we felt she would be better off staying.  She's used to us,  she will take food from our hands now,  she knows all the other chooks, and she's used to the henhouse.  If we moved her, although she would still have Flint, she'd have to contend with an established flock of girls, a new house,  new feeding regime, etc.

And we're going to introduce ALL the changes in one go,  as I think overall that will be less stress for the chooks (rather than having a series of changes).

So, the Plan that, on D Day:
  • Flint is removed from his paddock and taken to his new home
  • We immediately separate the currently-combined paddocks into two
  • Blue,  Mrs Flint, and all those chooks we believe to be female will be in one pen, with the proper henhouse (the old Flint residence)
  • Norman and the other chooks we believe to be boys will be in the other pen, with the shed house (the old Littlee residence).
This means that Blue and his harem can sort themselves out and establish some sort of order;   and the Boys can continue to have a happy, free range life until they are ready to be culled.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Cup cakes

I love cupcakes.  Well, fancy fairy cakes. I'm not too keen on all that overly fussy icing malarkey, although it does make them look pretty.

DDIL1 made plain cupcakes last weekend, and I was reading her cupcake cook book. There was a fascinating recipe for "Carrot and Cardamom" cupcakes, which I just had to try.   I love cardamom.  One of my favourite home-made ice creams is Cardamom IceCream.  Cardamom in a cup cake sounded splendid.

So, I followed the recipe.  Rather strange, as it used sunflower oil instead of butter, but, hey, what the heck.   When I'd finished combining the ingredients, my mixing bowl looked as though it had an orange coloured curry sauce in.  It wasn't very appetising, as far as cake mixes go.  It only vaguely smelt of cardamom.  It only vaguely tasted of cardamom.   Maybe I grated the carrot too finely?
I spooned the mixture into the paper cases, and put the tray in the oven.

I'm waiting for them to bake as I type.

I'll report back later.

Later  Well, they are out of the oven. They aren't your typical smooth topped cupcakes, these are the "Clint Eastwoods" of cupcakes.  Very lived in face.
Haven't tried them yet.

I have made another batch of mixture, this time following the recipe for Rosewater Cupcakes.  The butter, which has been out of the fridge since this morning, is still rather hard,  so I've tried it with Stork Margarine ("For Cakes") instead.   Mixture tastes OK. Doesn't taste as nice as Rosewater smells, IYSWIM.

I'll report back later.

Later Still Well, the Clint Eastwood's tasted okay.  Not great, but OK. Certainly better than the mixture promised.   They weren't very cardamommy, or carroty for that matter.  I think I might try again, but put mixed spice in instead of the ginger, and maybe increase the cardamom content a bit.   Or put cardamom in the icing.    I'll have a look at a carrot cake recipe  and see whether I can come up with something.

The rosewater ones are cooling. Hold on a sec......

...i'm just trying one, as is my DH...

... they taste OK as well, but I can't taste any rosewater.  The texture is lovely, and not sickly at all.       

I think for my next test, which will be tomorrow now as, frankly, the novelty is wearing off somewhat, I'll try the same rosewater recipe but use butter instead of Stork and see if that makes a difference.

Cats and boxes

What is it with cats and boxes?

Whenever we have a box in the house, one or other or both of the cats just has to climb in it or on it.  It  doesn't matter if said box is empty or full, they seem to have this compulsion they cannot help. This extends to the laundry baskets, washing baskets, collapsible crates, chicken carriers,  anything in fact.   We indulge our cats (probably too much), so if they happen to take a particular liking to a particular box, we keep it around for a bit.

Our coffee machine came back from being repaired in a big box, and the cats spent ages lolling about on it.

Here's Izzy taking her turn..

The box has some shredded carboard packaging in, and we're amazed it holds Izzy's (not inconsiderable) weight.

It's gone from the kitchen now as we didn't think it would hold out much longer.


DH grows fantastic parnips.  There is something about a parsnip that goes from garden fork to kitchen fork within a couple of hours.  The sugars stay sweet and don't turn to starch.

DH fancied trying parsnip crisps (US=chips).  We've had them before, both home made and shop bought.  He doesn't like the shop bought ones very much.  So, we dug out the deep fat fryer, which hasn't been used since we did this last year,  and set about making crisps. 

Do parsnip crisps count towards one's "5 a day"?  

We had a few bits of parsnip left which were too small to be turned into crisps, so I steamed them until they were completely mushy, and we had mashed parsnip with our dinner.  Anyone who knows my DH will be scoffing in disbelief at this point, because it's a well known fact that he doesn't eat vegetables.    (He does eat some vegetables, provided they are completely mushy and provided they never had chlorophyll in them, ever).

This morning I thought I'd see what the Girls thought of mashed parsnip.  Hi-larious!  If they were kids they'd be beaming at me with parsnip all round their faces.

Up close and personal

I've been looking for suitable pics of my Girls to cut down and use to illustrate the edges of my Blog.  I have, literally, *hundreds* of pictures of them, but it's been a challenge to find the *right* pic of each Girl.

Yesterday was quite sunny, so I took the camera out into the garden and tried to snap them.  Delilah was very interested in the camera...

Isn't she gorgeous?  

She's over 3 years old now, which is quite old for a Bluebelle hybrid.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


My lovely neighbour, C, rang the doorbell today.

I opened the door and invited her in, and she turned and pointed at the front garden.  Or, to be specific, she pointed at Daisy who was munching grass on the front lawn.  She had actually been eating the grass in Next-Door's front garden, which is how she got spotted.

Daisy escapes her enclosure occasionally, by limbo-ing under any carelessly placed netting.   She tends to munch the grass in the back garden, and then she comes and taps on the french window to ask for corn.   Today she managed to find her way all the way to the garden gate,  and to find the small gap in the trellis which is there to let the cats pass through easily.
I had a quick inspect, but I can't see where she got through.  It's time to move the fencing to the other side of the garden anyway, so hopefully that will fix it.

EDITED: I've now rearranged the fencing so they have half the area we jokingly call "the lawn".  There's lots of grass there (although it won't have any nutritional value), and I'll swap them to the other half of this area in a week or so.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Things that go mwaaaaaaaaaaouw in the night

DH had to be up at 5 this morning as he was visiting a Client's site.  He was still working at 11 last night,  and I don't know what time he came to bed.

I hd a restless night.  I had one very involved dream, in which someone was shouting something about an Adventure; but the last syllable of the word went really funny, and they shouted "Ad-vent-u-eeow-eeow-eoowo---eoooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuwwwwwwwwwwwww".  I woke up with a start, to hear one of my cats making That Noise.

I lay in bed for a couple of seconds, trying to work out if I could possibly manage to go back to sleep without having to get up and find Whatever It Was that they would have brought in.   After a a very short space of time, I realised that it was actually *both* cats making the noise, which meant it wasn't going to be a Mouse after all.  I leapt up and ran to the top of the stair, to see two cats running ahead of me.  Izzy was still on the Landing, so it meant we had another cat in.

Washburn was under the kitchen table, still making that godawful sound, when I got there,  and I had to look around for the Visitor.   Found him in the living room, looking a bit confused.  He was a very smart cat, quite chubby and well cared for,  and he wasn't in the least aggressive or upset.    He looked a bit like a cat in a tuxedo. Smart, black back,  little white triangle on his chest.  

He had a nametag on. I tried to read it but gave up because (a) it was small , (b) I didn't have my glasses on, (c) I was still half asleep and was really struggling to focus on the job in hand.  I suspect he may have come in to our cat flap either through confusion or just out of interest, rather than to lay claim to the territory.

I showed him the cat flap. I don't mean that in the "I showed him the door" way. I mean, I pointed the cat flap out to him,  and when he didn't understand, I held it open for him.  He went quietly.

I went back to bed, it was just gone 2am.  I awoke several times, certain that the cats were yowling again. They weren't.
I wish I had bothered to look at his nametag now, in case the poor lad was lost.  I hope he doesn't come back (unless he is lost, of course, in which case I hope he does).   I'd like to continue to think well of him,  and I don't like having to deal with maurauding feline invaders.