With her long legs and her gorgeous black and white plumage, Coco Chanel stands out in a crowd. Beautiful? Yes. Stubborn? Absolutely! She has never quite understood the simple relationship that exists between a hen and its owner. I have told her more than once – I provide the food and you lay the eggs. And when it comes to eating – she is always in the thick of it. But from the minute she started laying, she’d steal herself away and construct a secret nest. Then she’d go AWOL. Sometimes for days. Last time I found her, squashed between our deck screen and the neighbour’s fence, sitting perfectly on ten eggs. She hadn’t left her nest for days but she still had the energy to peck my arm – really hard. Then last weekend, Chanel started acting strangely – all vague and secretive. And then she was gone. Problem is, none of the other chooks will put themselves to bed when she is missing. It’s chook chaos. I have to chase those chooks into the coop and then I find them roosting in trees, anywhere but in the hen house. “You’ll make an easy chicken dinner for some fox tonight,” I threaten. But they don’t seem to care.
So this morning, I was determined to find that girl and bring her home. This involved crawling through cobwebs and plunging my hands into dark, awkward spaces. It was a battle of wits and Chanel was, as always, winning. The sun was beating down and I had all but given up. If she wanted to stay out all night – so be it. Her life. Her destiny.
But then, look what I found near the back door! A flowerpot. Ten eggs, some broken. And one hot hen. She had been there all along.
She wasn’t happy to be rescued. She was quite vocal really. But at least we’ll all get a good night’s sleep tonight. She was pretty quiet this afternoon but I know she’s planning her counter attack. It won’t be the last time we do battle. She is one determined young lady. But I’ve got to say – I admire her creativity and her fighting spirit. Sort of.