The thing about free ranging your chickens… on occasion, you’re short a chicken when you count them roosting at night. Oh, well. Score one for the eagles or hawks or coons or skunks or dogs or cat or whatever manages to take a bite out of a chicken that day.
It’s not the end of the world. It’s also why I don’t name them or let them become my pets… a free ranging life can be tough. When I showed up to let them out of their coop yesterday, one hen lay on the ground outside the coop and I admonished her… “Well, you should have been here on time last night, and you wouldn’t have been locked out all night!”
She haughtily stood, floofing her feathers in a show of defiance. Below her stood two chicks. “Well, I’ll be a son of a gun! Welcome back! Hey, babies…” My mind scrambled ahead. How was I going to protect these two little chicks from my dog… and my cat? And other dogs… and that hawk? all before heading to work in two minutes?
My quick decision was to utilize the dog kennel, it would keep the cat and dog away as long as the chicks didn’t wander between the bars… I put in a pan of water, some feed and easily snagged the two chicks. Momma came on in full assault mode, pecking, squawking, flapping, jumping… ungrateful little turd! I immediately showed the evidence of chicken abuse, scratches and peck marks to my hands and arms.
The chicks were placed in the kennel and I returned for the hen. Boy, she thought she was abused before! Now lifted ungracefully by her tail, I transferred the furious hen into the kennel with her babes.
I was going to be late to work…
I texted Megan, asking for a welfare check, and even a search in the old sheds to see if there were more chicks to be found. She and Quinlan took on the assignment like professionals. No eggs. No chicks. No sign. They went to the dog kennel… no chicks. No hen. My safe zone obviously leaked.
Today, they’re back… kept from under a tractor tire by Brandon’s speedy reactions. She has them in the coop… hunkered in a corner. She probably won’t be safe from the cat… but, I guess, they will stay there, unless further inspiration comes to me.Let's Socialize...