|Part finished - Maggie inspecting the work so far|
When the corner posts were in place and the roof had been fixed on, Maggie very kindly went in to check that my son had done the job properly. As you can see from the picture above, she takes her responsibilities seriously. She inspected that particular post very closely indeed. She was aware that darkness was closing in fast, most of the others had gone to bed and she would be following them soon. When no comments were forthcoming, we took it that everything was in order and carried on.
|The finished shelter|
The next morning we put Maggie's favourite blue water dish in the shelter, opened the coop and stood back to watch the flock's reaction.
Did they get up that morning, do a double-take and nudge each other saying, "Wow, will you look at that!" No. Nothing. Not one of those pesky fowls so much as glanced in the direction of their beautiful new refuge from inclement weather! Despite her inspection the previous evening, Maggie headed for where her blue dish used to be. When it wasn't there, rather than walk a couple of feet to the green drinker she slurped up some muddy water from a depression in the ground that must have been all of 1" deep.
For a few days they all made a point of avoiding their splendid new shelter until Punk accidentally found her way in, as recorded in an earlier post.
Do you remember the Hansel and Gretel story, where a trail of breadcrumbs is laid. Their idea was that they'd be able to follow the trail and find their way safely back out of the forest. I pinched the idea and adapted it. I laid a trail of mixed corn that led into the forest - er, I mean smoking shelter.
If I could have got to a bookies in time, I'd have laid money on Mad Irene spotting the trail first and eating her way in. I would have won, too. She didn't look up until she reached the nice pile of corn and an apple at the end of the trail. Even then, she only glanced round briefly before attacking the apple with gusto.
And then there were two - because where Irene goes, Rebecca follows. Titian was close behind and soon almost the entire flock was clustered round the door, mostly unable to get in because Titian was blocking the way. Maggie wasn't among the "in" crowd. She looked disdainfully across at them as if to say, "Been there, done that."
So now when it's rainy and windy and horrible, our lovely little flock has an alternative venue which offers them good protection. But they still all cram themselves into the spare small coop!!!!!