I’ve just spent 8 days looking after my neighbours ducks and hens whilst they were away on holiday.

This involved getting up at dawn, which I have to say proved harder than expected, letting them out of their little houses and giving them food and water. A mid-day visit to top-up if necessary, and my job was done.

The 10 ducks were easy, as long as you remembered to stand out of the way as you opened the door in the morning. They emerged in a quacking, flapping, frenzy, which would knock you over if you stood in the wrong place.

The rest of the time they just kept their distance, which made feeding and watering very easy. They are Indian Runner ducks I believe, like these.

However, the hens were a different thing altogether. There are 6 in total, well I say 6, in fact one is a cockerel, then there is a duck that thinks it’s a chicken and finally 4 hens.

I’d been warned they liked to make a bid for freedom, hence the electric fence. What I hadn’t been told was how they watch you and appear for all the world to be plotting their escape using nothing more than decoy tactics and knitting!

Have you seen the wonderful film ‘Chicken Run’? If you haven’t you won’t understand that last comment, but if you have you will understand why I soon named 2 of the hens ‘Babs’ and ‘Ginger’!!

Fortunately I wasn’t given the task of putting the genie back in the bottle, or in this case the poultry back into their respective houses, at dusk, this task fell to my neighbours daughter. A fact for which I will be forever grateful.