Aunty Bec is the first of our girls to go “broody”. She’s been holed up in a nesting box for weeks now, rarely venturing out even for food. I have of course had many suggestions as to how this pattern could be broken (such as jailing her in a nestless enclosure or dunking her in a bucket of cold water) but they seemed unthinkably cruel to me. Besides, all she really wants is to be a mum. Nevertheless, the time has come to do something. The poor little thing is skin and bone, comb pale and floppy, showing no sign of letting her maternal yearnings pass naturally. I gave in and decided that on a 32 degree day, a cold bath might not be so bad. Luckily, Grandad was here to do the honours. Aunty Bec seemed rather to enjoy herself.