Tales from the Coop – part 3. The Football match

Today started just the same as all the others, 0545 Primrose top hen started yelling ‘Oi Baldy time to get up, where’s our breakfast’. I trudged down the garden with a refresh of hen treats, bleary eyed having been awake for half the night with a niggling back. Today was shaping up as all the others do with me running (metaphorically) after pesky demanding hens.

After about ten minutes foraging the spokesperson again started yelling, this time it was a new one on me ‘Oi Baldy we want to play football’ obviously they had been watching TV and fancied their chances. As there are only six hens the team list was not that great but it did work out. We have three hens ginger in colour, two mottled and a dark blue/black hen. This would make the teams readily identifiable. I of course forgot that hens are colour blind and totally stupid.

Fortunately, I have second guessed them this time as I ordered a ‘treat ball’ a few days back and was waiting for an opportunity to surprise them. You fill it with treats, feed pellets and seed, then toss it in the run and wait for the antics.

Once they had argued about who was going to be in goal they finally started playing, I blew the dog whistle and they were off, concurrently all the dogs in the close started barking in unison, if you closed your eyes, you could almost imagine them cheering on the match!

Primrose dribbled the ball down the fence line before passing it across to Betty Bottom Hen. She didn’t kick it but picked it up and ran inside the coop to try to extract the goodies contained within the ball. Chaos ensued, the remaining players all tried to get up the ramp at once. This was not a pretty site; the doorway is only wide enough for one hen but all five had their heads inside shoving and heaving.

Primrose – team captain and general spokeshen.

I eventually blew the whistle and they stopped and awaited instructions, meanwhile the dogs in the area started cheering again, they are getting the hang of this game! The ball was retrieved and coop door shut to keep the playing field even, the game went back and forwards with the score tally increasing. Eventually the pace of the game slowed to a stagger with only half the ball’s contents consumed. In the end I blew half time and they collapsed into a tired but more importantly, quiet heap.

This started the dogs booing and cat calling, they were enjoying the fun and didn’t want it to be half time. The teams had they customary fruit and pellets and then they failed miserably, they all went to sleep for an hour. I give up, hens always want more and just when you think you have achieved the status of ‘Master Hen Herder’, it drifts away. At this rate I will not get my certificate nor the prize money.

As the sun began to set on a long and tedious day for me, they delivered the killer blow. They demanded pizza and beer for the post match party. Hens will always have you over!

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