Some people have guard dogs, we have Billie-the-Beak.
She was brought-up in a tough neighbourhood and quickly learned that she had to fight for everything in life.
Even now that she has the freedom to roam in our wood during the day she still fights - just because she enjoys it.
If you look carefully you will see that her beak is crossed (click on the photographs and they should enlarge). I usually cross my fingers when I meet her, in the hope that I will escape without a nasty stab wound!
She arrived fresh from the battery farm like that. Despite such a weird configuration she manages to eat most things, although we do have to make sure that her chicken food is deep enough for her, otherwise she bangs her beak into the bowl in frustration at not being able to get any.
She's not a pretty sight - especially when she takes a run and jumps up, trying to impale you on her beak! Heaven help your toes if you are unwise enough not to have them well covered!
We all respect Billie.
Toby has special respect for Billie.
She terrifies him.
On several occasions I have had to rescue him from her clutches.
He never turns his back on her now!
He doesn't have any problem with our two other rescue hens, Sick-Chick and Little Red Hen - that's Sick-Chick behind him. He would never sit like that if Billie was around.
I took these photographs yesterday while I was wandering around the wood taking photographs of lots of tree eyes for a future post. When I turned around I found the three hens, one of the cats (Bennie) and Toby were following me. A lovely little entourage.
One of these days I will manage to get a photograph with all of them in the same frame. It always makes me smile to see them all taking a stroll around the wood 'together'.