Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks
There are many things that will definitely get a mom’s attention. “She’s choking” is one, “He’s bleeding” is another and yesterday it was “Mom, there’s a big bird attacking a chicken.”
And I had just written about birds of prey in our neighborhood.
I ran from my desk to the backyard to see a large bird (larger than a hawk, smaller than an eagle, my guess is still falcon) pulling meat from something on the ground. Other than that terrible bird, there were no other chickens in sight.
I picked up a stick (twig) and ran toward the bird who tried to fly away with his meal but he ended up dropping it in flight. It was then that I discovered we had lost our little Isabelle. Isabelle, the one we had just gotten through her illness. The one who survived. The lucky one, we thought.
I know that when you free range, you are going to lose some birds.
I know that a hawk/eagle/falcon had been spotted in our neighborhood and someone even saw it fly away with a cat.
And I know that since her illness Isabelle has been a little, well, touched. She seemed to have forgotten how to protect herself. How to find the way home by herself. How to work with the flock.
I know all this, but still – darn, darn, darn, darn, darn. I just hate losing a bird, especially one that’s been a favorite for the last 5 years. Dying of old age is one thing, dying by violence is quite another.
The rest of the flock had been spooked and had scattered to various hiding places. It took Emma and me a good hour to coax everyone out from under the hen house, from low bushes deep in the woods, and from under an overturned rowboat that our neighbors had stashed in the woods (the good news is that I may have finally found where our eggs are being laid.)
Once the chickens realized it was us (friends not foes) calling for them, they raced toward us and let us herd them back to the hen house. Our chickens recognized that we were the protectors and that we were there to keep them safe. The terrified hens under the row boat were the last to come out, but eventually after standing nearby and calling for them they trusted us more than they believed their fear.
I suspect that Isabelle was taken because she was small and standing out alone in the newly raked yard – which only made her white and black presence glaringly obvious. There’s not much I can do to protect my flock from a hawk – again it’s a choice you make when you decide to free range, but rest assured, if we have another attack, the chickens are going to be staying in the coop, no longer free ranging for a while.
For now, I’ve got a large warrior stick by the back door and if that bird comes again, let it be known that I won’t be afraid to use it.
Be safe and see you all next week.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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