We have a new chicken coop, it is a thing of beauty. The old coop was listing to starboard and the wire starting to sag… like parts of my body have been doing for years. So I have to thank Jack Croft and Fran Murray of J Croft Contracting for the most wonderful job. They came to fence a couple of fields, repair a couple of gateways and got talked into replacing the coop.

I wanted it slightly re-sited. The entrance to the coop was inside the lake field and it had been built just inside the field boundary creating a corridor between field fence and coop. Horses – not the brightest of creatures – could walk into the coop and get stuck, or walk down the narrow gap between fence and coop and get stuck. So each time the horses went into the field, electric fencing had to be installed to keep them away from the coop.  

These problems were to be eliminated by moving the coop right up to the field fence thereby removing the corridor, and the entrance opening out onto the drive, thereby removing problem of horses getting in. Job done.

So Jack and Fran did a wonderful job, and come the weekend, the coop was completed and the new doorway up and running. Now chickens are not the brightest, and very much creatures of habit. Once they know where they sleep they will go back to the same house night after night. So to re-site their entrance was asking for trouble and something we only thought about the day the new fence went up.

It was a Saturday evening, a lovely September Saturday evening. Luckily Cousin was here, so there were three of us to round up 30-odd chickens. However, stupidly, we had a glass or two while waiting for dusk before venturing out for the round up. Head of Poultry laid a corn trail in the hope some girls would follow it into the new coop, some did but many didn’t including the Boy.  

Now Forrest Gump was re-named from Nelson to Forrest Gump for a reason. He really isn’t bright and runs a lot. He can easily out run a middle aged, rotund woman. He was a bugger, he led us a merry dance but was finally cornered in the stable shed and unceremoniously carried back to the hen house under a towel. That left 20 girls still free. 

Picture the scene – three ample sized, middle aged women in the semi dark having had a glass or two floundering madly around field, drive, yard, stable shed, middle shed, first shed, yard, drive and back to field via the lake to round up ******* ******* ******* chickens. Every net, towel, broom was used to usher, throw, negotiate chickens back into coop and houses. It lasted hours, well… half an hour at least, we ran marathons… ok perhaps metres, we staggered, yelled, walked, ran, wobbled, staggered, ran back again and finally as the light was fading fast the last bugger chicken was rounded up and placed safely back in house. Job done and yes another bottle was opened, silly not to…

NB no chicken, cockerel, dog, horse, fly or worm was injured, hurt or overly stressed during the Great Tabor Hill round up.