Posted by: kathandroger | September 25, 2015

Den, the Smoker, lizard and mouse.

The antics of our animals here are always a source of delight and wonder. The interaction between cat, dog, chickens, sheep and goat are ever changing, and when the local wildlife becomes involved the plot is even more complicated. Chickens are usually thought of as gentle and timid birds, but they are the most greedy and violent of predators given half a chance. I have seen them pull a fully grown frog into pieces, and will eat anything from grapes to boudin noir. Our cat Dennis, has a healthy respect for them, having been violently pecked on the nose when he was a kitten, and takes avoiding action whenever possible. Now Dennis himself is slowly changing from the playful youngster he was into an almost affectionate cat, although still occasionally sinking his claws into my arm, and retaining his hunting ways. Most of our plentiful lizards in the farm are without tails, the victim of feline ferocity, so it was no surprise to see him walking across the yard yesterday with a live lizard in his mouth. The Smoker, so called because she is a “cendre” breed, meaning ash coloured or smoky, also saw the Den, and obviously fancied a tasty snack of fresh live lizard herself. Fat and ageing chickens are not the most wily and cunning of hunters, so are too slow to catch the lizards themselves, but Smokey realized that a free meal was available. Den, being a normal cruel cat, always plays with his victims before dispatching them, and foolishly dropped the partially dismembered lizard for a moment, casually looking skyward for inspiration as to which torture to next inflict. The Smoker, seeing the opportunity, rushed forward, the cat thought he was being attacked by the chicken and made a startled retreat, and the chicken had the lizard. Chickens make lots of different noises, and even with a mouth full of tasty amphibian I am sure I heard a yell of victory.IMG_3217 Luckily the other birds were elsewhere, or they would have all wanted to share in the meal. Dennis sulked off with a hangdog expression. On reflection, the chickens are the boss of the cat, the cat is the boss of the dog, and we spend all our time looking after them all, so who is the real master here?

Boudie, our Airedale, and the cat are always fed together, although in differing quantities. The evening routine is to  put some dog nuts into a dish, where the dog can’t reach, and where the cat helps himself to a few before we add some meat.IMG_3219 Putting my hand into the bag a couple of days ago the food felt different, softer and warmer, and my hand came out  containing a mouse as well as food. The mouse was just as startled as I was, but, knowing the ferocity of my feline friend, I put the quivering animal and nuts in the dish and waited for swift mouse eradication. So what did Dennis do? Completely ignored the petrified beast and went on eating Boudie’s food. After a few moments the mouse made his escape over the side of the dish, with no response whatever from the hungry hunter!


  1. One day I must write that blog post I’ve planning on how chickens are actually dinosaurs…

    • We call ours the Velociraptors!!
      And an Ignobel was won this year by the scientist who stuck wooden tails on chicks and discovered that they walked like…

  2. Your “stumpies”….
    tailfree lizards….
    are not all the result of Dennis….
    the small ones from this year’s hatchings….
    the two to three inch ones…
    are preyed upon by the adults who regard a small lizard as good scran!
    And big males often lose tails to their bigger rivals!!

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