This morning I was sat at the desk mulling over various tasks and how to progress them effectively with as little personal effort as possible when I heard a knock at the door. "Ah" I thought "that must be the upholstery hide that 30% has ordered for the dining room chairs". I rushed to the door, fighting my way past two barking poodles, and found a middle aged lady stood on the step. With a keen eye I took in the lack of large parcel or stylus and electronic pad and quickly came to the conclusion that she was no Delivery Driver.
Her next question took me aback slightly; "Do you keep chickens?" she asked. I replied in the affirmative and she then advised that she had found one in her garden and from her non-expert description I decided that it could be one of our Marans. I grabbed a pair of shoes and followed her down the road passing the time of day. As we walked I started to think that this was a bloody long way for one of my birds to have strayed. Your average chicken is not generally an adventurous creature. Provided that there is food and water, a place to lay eggs and decent accommodation they will come home to roost each and every night. The phrase coming home to roost is perfectly true of Galliforme behaviour. To have reached this lady's garden this bird would have needed to cross at least eight or ten gardens and a couple of estate roads. I kept my concerns to myself and chattered away ...
... eventually we reached her house and I was shown through to the garden. There on the patio, pecking at scraps of red pepper, was a Maran hen. With a turn of speed that surprised the owner, I had the hen captured and tucked under one arm. As I was walking through the house saying thank you and so forth the hen shifted in my grip and splayed one wing and it was at that point that I noticed that it's wings had been clipped. I pointed this out to the owner along with the fact that this proved that the bird was most definitely not one of mine. She advised that if I was happy to take it she was happy to see it go so I left ensuring that she was aware that I now labelled her as some dark, nefarious trafficker in stolen poultry.
As for the hen, it is now in the run with our dozen legitimate pullets getting itself on the outside of as many layers pellets as it can stuff in to it's crop. I made a note of her address and mentally considered dropping off half a dozen eggs as a thank you. Mind you, if the bugger doesn't lay, I also know where to take the damned thing back.