Charlie spent her first night in the hen house last night. Spencer had put her in the coop yesterday afternoon to “play” with the others and when we checked on her at dusk, she was snuggled up and roosting with the others ready for bedtime.
So, reluctantly, I let her stay.
And then I worried about her all night (I know, once a mama hen, always a mama hen.)
This morning when I went out to check on the birds, the girls all greeted me at the front gate. Good morning, Sunshines, I clucked back to them. They think I’m going to let them out to run in the yard except that on a rainy day – we all stay inside.
But there was no Charlie.
I looked under the coop (we have an overhang that in retrospect was not a good idea because if a chicken wants to hide under there, the only way to get her is to crawl under.) Yuck. I didn’t see Charlie.
Then I looked inside the coop and sure enough, Charlie was perched on top of a bench facing the corner and doing her best Blair Witch imitation. She wouldn’t come when I called her. She saw me, but wouldn’t come.
Talk about mama guilt. My baby hates me for pushing her out of the nest.
Later I’ll go out to make sure that she has access to food and water. I might even hold her for a bit and tell her she’ll be okay. She really will.
But the time has come for Charlie to fly the nest. She belongs out with the other chickens, the true sisters of her flock, not inside a house with us.
This doesn’t mean that she can never come to visit (our back door is always literally open) and if she does come in for a bit, while I break out the finest dog dish and serve her a feast of scraps, Pippin will be there licking her feathers to welcome her home for the visit.