The Pecking Order: One flu over the cuckoo’s nest as Nancy chook takes a spa break in the bathroom

As of the 14th December all of the nation's feathered friends were ordered to be kept under cover by DEFRA to prevent the spread of Avian bird flu, so my four gals are back together reunited under one roof.

Nancy chook

The main reason for the enforced segregation was poor Nancy, the butt of a bad joke by the rest of the flock. They took exception to her bare moulting bahookie, and indulged in a spot of feather pecking. So I've had to keep a beady eye on them in case of any poultry shenanigans. Our Nancy is an uncomplicated character, she is not at the bottom of the pecking order so I'm not sure why she has been at the receiving end. She is a big fan of snacks so perhaps she'd overstepped the mark and elbowed a boss bird out of the way once too often. Who knows with hens? As far as I'm concerned she is great, and busts a gut to greet me, if you chat to her, she replies with a 'Noot, Noot' which roughly translates to, ‘I'm here you big galoot give me the grub or else.’ Top of the pops in the hen snack department, are grapes. You haven't lived until you've fed a hen a grape, they scarper pronto open beaked to snaffle the treasured fruit without the others snatching it off them.

Prior to hen lockdown I tried a number of tactics to stop the spate of feather pecking, eventually deciding that Nancy should come inside for some respite for a few days, returning to the flock during the day, me hovering over them like a mother hen to intervene if required.

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The non hen loving fella in my life was none too pleased to discover that he would be sharing his washroom with our Nancy. However, the chook took to the new arrangements straight away, fluffing out her feathers and making herself comfy in the wicker basket. I’m pretty sure she thought she was on a luxury spa weekend in the spare bathroom.

Chicken in a basket, our Nancy chook on her short break away from pesky beaks.

To be fair what it lacks in stylish decor and interior it makes up for in being warm, courtesy of a radiator and with no chance of anyone ripping a feather out of your rear. So I’m looking forward to our trip advisor review. Nancy took quite a shine to her new accommodation; so much so she'd help me shut the others into their own hen run just prior to bedtime before legging at top speed up the garden to the back door, to nonchalantly walk past the fella and make herself at home.

Hopping inside her cat basket boudoir after a bedtime snack and a drink, now that's my kind of a chicken in a basket. In the morning she'd sneak back to the hen run with the others for her second breakfast. Luckily my cunning plan has seemed to work, I've integrated her back with her so called chums and now the offending naked behind has been covered by a new set of fluffy feathers. It was a sad day when she chose to spend the night with her poultry pals instead of in our bathroom palace.

So I guess it’s a result because poultry might be cooped up until April or May.

Chicken in a basket, our Nancy chook on her short break away from pesky beaks.