Previously I have chatted about our newest chicken Trixi; she that is a cross between a chicken and an emu and has made it her job to stop any wild birds from landing in the garden.
Trixi has stuck with the view that this is her role in life much to the amusement of the hubby and myself. Trixi is bigger now, dwarfing even Harmony our ex-battery chicken. She is now twice the size of her self proclaimed mother, Drew our bantam silky. Not that this has stopped Drew from putting Trixi in her place when she thinks Trixi needs it. Drew gives Trixi a good couple of sharp pecks to the legs by way of telling her off, (really by now Trixi's legs are all Drew can reach). Despite the size difference, Trixi continues to defer to Drew and she is still very wary of our younger dog, Myka. Anything else though has to watch out. I have noticed that our cat, Fey, tends to begin to walk slowly, her belly close to the ground, her eyes never leaving Trixi as Fey carefully walks in another direction. I'm not sure if this is because Trixi has already begun to chase her, or whether Fey just thinks she might!
Recently however there's been a development. We get the distinct impression that the two pairs of collared Doves who are regulars, spending most of every day in and around our garden all year through, are taking the piss out of Trixi!
Whenever the three "ladies" are having their freedom of the whole garden times, Trixi always, at some point, manages to sneak away from Drew's watchful gaze and head over to the wildlife pond area. This is where you will usually find Harmony when she is not in our house sat on the sofa or asleep in one of the dog's beds, (a couple of days ago whilst my mum and step-dad were visiting she appeared from nowhere and flew up onto the top of the cooker. My step-dad asked if that was what the hubby and I were having for our evening meal).
The hubby and I have now noticed that when Trixi is pottering around the pond, the doves appear. They then seem to take it in turns to land on the opposite side of the pond to wherever Trixi is and wait. Obviously Trixi spots them, she immediately puts her head down like a charging bull and races around the pond towards them. Just before she reaches them, the doves fly across the pond and land so they are at the opposite side to Trixi again. Undeterred Trix puts her head down and sets of again at mac 9 (this is one very high speed chicken) and the doves once again wait until the last moment then fly back over the pond, land and wait for Trixi to have another go. This game can go on for quite a while and poor old Trixi hasn't yet learnt to know when she is beaten. More recently the doves appear to have added another element of frustration for Trixi into the game which I think highlights what an evil sense of humour doves can have. Like all garden wildlife ponds, mine has a "deep" end and a shallow end which becomes almost a cobble beach. This allows any wildlife to safely use the pond for drinking or bathing and provided an escape route for anything accidentally falling into the pond (unless it's Harmony who was the one that confirmed chicken's can't swim). I have also placed a couple of small rock "islands" that most of the birds often use as a landing point when they want a drink. If Trixi wanted to stand on this little island she would either have to paddle a distance of 15cm or take two flaps to fly onto it. No way is she going to paddle and the doves seem to know this, so to add to their game they sometimes land on the island. Trixi races around to that side of the pond, then grinds to a halt and gives the kind of confused look that only a chicken can give when the doves don't fly away, they simply look at her as though daring her to enter the water. Yesterday one of the doves waited for Trixi to run round, then casually turned it's back on her and began to have a drink. I would say this was a clear dove two fingered salute! So, if anyone out there is doing research on "Do Birds Have a Sense of Humour" you need to come round to our house.