Monday, 11 February 2013

New lodgers

We got our new lodgers last night -- four hens and two ducks -- and they're settling into their new home.

We drove to a family farm just over the border in County Offally, which at this gothic time of year looks as bad as it sounds. The family, though, was very nice, and the teenaged son diligently waded into the mass of writhing birds to get the best one for us.  

They also put them in alarmingly small cardboard boxes for me.  Are they going to be all right in there? I asked.

“You could fit a lot more in here if you wanted to,” they said. Chickens, it turns out, are surprisingly compressible, although I’m not going to test the limits of that, and they didn't seem overly disturbed by the journey.

As The Girl and I locked the chicken run door and came inside for the night, we almost stepped on a little Blue Tit, apparently too muddy and bedraggled to fly. I scooped him and set him in our library, on my desk, under a mesh rubbish basket like a birdcage.

We gave him food and water for the night, and he cleaned himself and dried off. As I sat down at my desk to write, the songbird was asleep, a little poof of blue feathers, next to my elbow. We released him this morning, with a story of divine intervention that none of his friends will believe.

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