Jacques and his girlfriends

Jacques has abandoned our hens.

He left them to court five younger hens down at the barn, escapees from the mobile coop when our guys moved it out onto the pasture on the other side of the farm the other day. The renegade hens were roosting in the rafters rather than inside the coop with the rest of the flock.

Jacques was all-too-happy to become their self-appointed guardian, in exchange for mating privileges, of course.

The problem is, our aging girls need his protection. I have to go down to the barn at dusk to shoo him out of the rafters and lead him back to our humble backyard coop. The first time I went to retrieve him, I brought the walking stick, which I used to gently nudge him out of the barn. I herded him from behind as he clucked and fussed in protest all the way back to our little coop. He’s fairly docile in the evening.

Now, whenever I appear in the barn doorway in the evening, he starts to fuss, and the young hens get flustered and fly down from the rafters one by one, and he follows. I walk behind him as he reluctantly zig-zags his way back across our lawn, muttering all the while, and into the home coop once again.