We were a hen short. There were only five pecking around Molly's feet as she got stuck into her evening meal. Bob was missing.
For a few days I kept an eye out for her and had all but given up hope when she appeared in the pig shed, very defensive and hungry enough to think boiled tatties and rhubarb were delicious.
Then she was gone, appearing again three days later, puffing her chest out and spreading her wings wide at the other hens - she obviously had something to hide. The pattern continued for some time until the other day when The Boy said: "Come and have a look at this Dad."
There was Bob with five. . . no, six. . . seven. . . hang on, nine. . . hell's teeth, ten. . . eleven, we've got a football team. . . twelve, and a sub, chicks.
The next problem was to get them out of the open air where they would be prey to gulls and, maybe, cats. Easy - The Boy got a box and we gathered up the chicks, putting them in the old stone shed recently vacated by Molly.
Then we ushered Bob around to the shed before erecting a barrier which she could hop over, but the chicks couldn't. The trouble with that was that Bob and her sister Leroy (don't ask) look almost identical and, you've guessed it, we'd got the wrong hen.
So we hurried back to where Bob was frantically searching for her chicks and, after she had attacked The Boy's feet a couple of times, swopped her over with a now very confused Leroy. Mother and chicks are doing just fine.