Tuesday, 7 April 2015


You may remember that, some time ago, Lotti built herself a nest in the pampas grass.   You may also remember that Florence, our enormous Australorp who we thought had gone through the henopause, decided she really liked this outside nest and wanted to use it too.  

Daily slanging matches ensued.

Lotti would shriek loudly every time Florence was in the nest, near the nest when Lotti was in it, or just whenever she felt aggrieved.  Florence would bok mournfully when Lotti was in the nest.

Mostly, we tried to ignore it.  The weather has been better recently, and we've had the kitchen door open in the morning. It's quite hard to ignore the cacophony with the door open.

I decided to help Lotti build a second nest in the Pampas.  I went out with a bill-hook, and did some general trimming, looking for a suitable entrance.  I realised I was a bit limited: the Pampas is on the corner of their netted area,  so a nest on two of the sides would jut serve as a launch platform to get her over the netting and out in to the rest of the garden; the original next was on the third side, so I had to try and find somewhere on the only remaining side,

I was suitably attired for attacking Pampas: years of experience on the wrong end of the sharp fronds has taught me to make sure my arms and top are fully covered, and to wear thick gloves.  I poked around a but and found a tiny hollow that might be enlarge-able.  I removed some stems, and hollowed it out a bit.  I caught Lotti and put her in.  She burbled happily, and then barged through what turned out to be a party wall into her original nest.

I worked some more, taking out another stem from the edge to make it bigger.   I put dry matter in the holes to make a floor. I, reluctantly, moved the 2 eggs from her original nest into the new nest.  I caught Lotti and put her in it.  She looked around, and then tried to escape throughout the party wall again. 

Meanwhile Florence decided it was time to lay and flew into the original nest. Lotti went loopy.

I took out a stem from the side wall (not the party wall)  to make a bigger cavity.  I padded it out some more.  I put Lotti on the ledge below.  She jumped into the new cavity, looked around, and thentried to get into the next door nest.  I blocked Florence from leaving. The row continued until I gave in. Florence jumped out, Lotti moved in.

I worked some more, removing a stem from the back, which made the nest a bit bigger.  I grabbed a handful of nest material from the old nest and padded it out with that.  I rearranged Lotti's eggs.    Florence jumped into the original nest.  I caught Lotii, put her on the ledge below the new nest, and watched her jump in. She turned around.   She snuggled down on her eggs.  She pecked some of the side walls a bit.   

And then she laid today's egg. In the new nest!


Of course, that doesn't mean she'll use it tomorrow.

But I am hopeful.

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