Sunday, June 12, 2011

The case of the disappearing hens

I said earlier that hens have an amazing genetic memory.  Our hens knew how to scratch and peck the ground without ever having seen it.  So they do learn stuff.  But it takes them several generations.  I guess it is called natural selection.

Back then we had two dogs.  Daisy was a “terrier cross”.  She died November last year which is why I’m talking about her in the past tense.  We’re not quite sure how else to describe her.  Her dad was a wire haired terrier/fox terrier cross.  Her mum was like no other dog I’ve ever seen.  The result was a high energy mutt with a stumpy furry body and long skinny legs.  Think Hairy Maclary who is a famous character in a series of children’s books in New Zealand.

Angel is a big clumsy slightly dumb harlequin Great Dane.  Looks great as an extra in Lady Gaga’s Pokerface (apparently).  But she’s a little neurotic (think Scooby Doo) and tends to follow us around the house.  Which would be fine if she was a little smaller.  But she’s 65kg and hence a little hard to navigate around.  Her sheer size does have some benefits.  Our visitors are greeted by the sight of our hound looking straight into their car window.  It’s funny, we don’t seem to get as many door knockers as we used to.

Anyway, that’s a short introduction to the dogs.  They made quite an odd pair.  The brains and the brawn.  If you were a hen would you cross a stream AND a fence to play with two canines straight out of a B-grade mobster movie?

Apparently some of them did.  They kept disappearing.  We knew who the culprits were.  The dogs weren’t very good at covering their tracks.  Or maybe they were pleased with their work.  Maybe they were just doing what they were supposed to be doing.  Keeping the hens out of the garden.

It got to the point where the dogs would meet us by the front door.  Angel (the big dumb one) had a chicken wing sticking out the side of her mouth.  Feathers still on it.  Probably caught by Daisy (the evil mastermind) then passed to Angel when she saw us coming.

This combination of free range hens and dogs wasn’t working.  What to do?

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