Yes indeed, we had a PRU alert today, but my neighbor Donna cornered whichever duck it was that shimmied under the fence and into her yard. Greg then had the boys put up a layer of chicken wire. That should take care of these duck dashes for freedom. It should also cut down on the cat wars that regularly take place along the fence.
And after the Poultry Response Unit mobilization? We had to call out the LLBRU. Yeah, that's right—the little brown bird response unit! For the second day in a row one of the cats caught and killed a songbird. Yesterday it was (perhaps) Vivani, although we'll never know for sure. What we do know is that Greg came home from running errands to find both cats in his office, looking caught in the act. He took the sparrow away from them and put it outside, but later, when he came back from a second set of errands, he found half the bird in the living room. (He then thoughtfully left the pile of feathers on the carpet so I could vicariously enjoy the action after getting home from work.) For the rest of the evening the cats kept looking for the remains of the bird, checking cupboard and drawers, throwing looks Greg's way as if to accuse him of hogging the bird to himself. Irritated enough that this morning Gina provoked one of her bulimic episodes, leaving the pile of hot, wet breakfast right in the middle of Greg's office, and stomping away when I scolded her.
Not happy with him at all, though immensely pleased with themselves.
So today after the duck adventure ("I don't know which one!") Greg was looking out his office window and saw Gina streak across the lawn and nab a goldfinch. As she toyed with it the chickens and ducks came running to see what was up:
They were quite intent on what Gina was doing. Were they waiting for scraps, as Greg thought, or were they taking in another facet of their backyard co-tenant's true nature? They're not telling.
Greg went out and released the bird, but again, later, he looked out the window to see (this time) Vivani sitting on Dan and Donna's lawn, munching the goldfinch.
Sorry, no pictures of that.
After I got home from work I went out back to do a little gardening and maintenance:
Our little flock, waiting for us to feed the compost pile. Yum! Squash seeds, stale bread—and the ever popular used kitty litter. (We use a wheat-based litter that's safe for composting and/or septic systems.) From left to right, that's Benny, Carlin, Marilyn, Pearl, Gamma Ray, and Greta. Or is it Greta and Gamma Ray? I'm never sure. Maybe I should've named them Mary-Kate and Ashley.
Well, hello! As I got ready to do some maintenance on the chateau des poules—change their straw, clean and fill their watering can, scrape the poop off the board under their roost—I saw my neighbor's dogs, Dinah and Hank, in the bailey. Huh. The gate's closed; how the hell did they get in the yard?
After making sure that the poultry weren't freaking out—they weren't. You can even see one of the chickens and both ducks standing between the dogs, checking out the action—I went to see if my neighbors were home. No. I then checked to see how the dogs got in our yard. Aha! One of them broke a board in the fence and pushed up the chicken wire. Probably Hank, but maybe Dinah. She's old, but she's wily. Since my neighbor wasn't home, I fixed the fence as best I could then continued cleaning the chateau while the dogs explored and hung out. Hank vacuumed up all the chicken feed, then Hank and Dinah searched the compost pile for edibles. Later, while Greg and I ate dinner, the dogs came in and Hank hoovered up every last crumb of cat food. Gina wasn't too happy about her empty food dishes, but hey. Not half an hour earlier she'd been complaining that I needed to put down fresh food...can't have it both ways kitty, not with a dog in the house!
Even though the dogs were in the yard, the cats felt comfortable enough to turn their attention to another potential interloper: Big Red. Grrr!
Hank, asking (after the fact) if it's okay if he polishes off all of the chicken feed. Yeah, that's bits of layer pellet stuck to his nose.
Dinner done, the dogs gone home, and out of cat food, we headed out to the store. Greg mentioned Donna saying she could use some more chicken eggs...but lately the chickens haven't laid hardly at all. Or, they are very, very good at hiding them. I'm not sure which, actually, but the upshot is I only had 4 chicken eggs, so I put a couple of duck eggs in as well and we took them over. Donna reached into her wallet to pay us, but I waved her off. Free eggs for the PRU!