Matilda has a flock of fine looking hens. All kinds and colours. They live close to the house, but don’t generally come in the house. She loves having them around, clucks over them and cares for them.

When she went into labour at home, one of her hens, called Dougal, kept coming up the stairs and through the mosquito screens to perch anywhere high and watch what was happening. Dougal was a stumpy little hen, and struggled getting up the few stairs to come in. And she would struggle back down them every time we shooed her out of the birthing space. She was really persistent and we had to close the door to keep her out.

After the baby was born, Dougal was still hanging around and fussing to come in, so Bahram (father of the baby) picked her up and brought her over to meet sweet baby Anousheh. I’d seen people do this with their dogs many times, but never with a chicken.

Dougal was happy and settled after the seeing that the baby was out, and stopped trying to come back in to the house. It made sense really – a reciprocal relationship of concern over what was being laid.

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Dougal was simply egging Matilda on.

by Jenny Blyth

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