Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Hawk attack’

The Littlest Hen

The morning was filled with the warmth of summer in late July. Anticipating the freshness of the day, the flock was noisy, calling for their freedom. I pulled opened their door, and quickly, hens rambled outside. Opening the “people” door, I heard that familiar little sound. Although, somewhat muffled, it was undeniable. Peering into the brooder, my eyes landed on the source of the high pitched “peep peep peeep”……

July 2014

…she would have been easy to miss, as she quickly hid in the warmth of Mama Chardonnay’s wings. Out of seven eggs, she was the only one to hatch.

August 2014

The baby chick quickly grew, and became her mama hen’s little shadow. Chardonnay shared all of her food with the chick, always allowing her to eat first. She has always been such a good Mama Hen.

Mama and Chick catching some rays.

Mama and Chick catching some rays.

She grew, and grew.

She grew, and grew.


Corn has always been one of her most favorite things.

Free ranging everyday, she diligently followed Chardonnay, listening, watching, imitating, and learning. She became well integrated into the flock, and was rarely chased or pecked at by the older hens.

September 2014

As is the danger of growing up in the middle of a farm – forest, predators are a real threat when feathers cover your body. The flock works hard to safeguard themselves against these threats, and they do very well. Sometimes their efforts, and our efforts are not enough. Something attacked our littlest hen.

The undeniable evidence.

The undeniable evidence.

I found the evidence yesterday morning…I’m not sure if it happened Saturday evening, or Sunday morning. Usually, I count the flock to make sure everyone made it into their house for the night…I didn’t do that Saturday night. I don’t remember specifically seeing her come out of their house on Sunday morning, but nothing alerted my conscious thoughts to her absence. In any case, she is gone…I wish I knew what got her!

It’s that circle of life thing. The flock knew it and were on high alert all day, hiding underneath things..running from cover to cover to change locations. They felt the loss, and the danger. This is the life of a free ranging chicken. There are real dangers, and in spite of that, there is real freedom….and sometimes, if I catch it just right, I think I can see them smiling!

Sorry little girl!!

Sorry little girl!!

There are definite life lessons that occur in nature, look for them, they’re there.

Thanks for walking through nature with me today.

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

DANGER, DANGER, DANGER

UPDATE ON TODAY’S POST

Remember that robot from Lost in Space?

That’s what our rooster, Benedict, was calling…”DANGER, DANGER, DANGER!!”

In all seriousness though, he was calling out for a reason! As I looked out the window to see what all the commotion was about, I saw one of the adult hens, Don Pedro, was outside the enclosure. She was running with wings flapping toward an outside covered area. Then I saw it…a huge hawk inside the chicken yard, trying to escape. She was getting caught up on the chicken wire fencing that kind of bends in.

I ran outside with my Great Dane, Penni,…..

Penni the Great Dane!  Protector of all things chicken!!

Penni the Great Dane! Protector of all things chicken!!

…..who caught site of the large bird now sitting on the ground outside of the enclosure. Penni ran at the hawk. Although beautiful, it is a natural enemy to my flock. The hawk had an easy exit and flew to a nearby tree. I didn’t see anything within her grasp.

It appeared everyone was inside…there certainly was enough noise coming from the house. I opened the door and started counting…1, 2, 3, 4…..with the one hiding outside all 8 adults were accounted for. Time for the Chicken Littles…1, 2, 3,….7…7…wait where’s #8? I counted again…still 7. Quickly exiting, I started looking for #8. This was deja vu to when we lost our little rooster, Gretchen (post from July 2013, A Sad Reality.) At the backside of the hen house, huddled in a corner was my little #8!! Was she alive? I opened the gate and she got up walking away from me…then I as called to her, she came back to me and let me pick her up. It was my little Austin Healey…the little chicken born lame! (See my previous post in December 2013 – Premature Chick Hatch)

Young Austin Healey

Young Austin Healey

She cuddled her head under my chin and sat quietly, shaking. I tried to reassure her, as much as you can reassure a chicken, checked her over a bit, and not seeing anything, brought her back to the flock.

As i walked back to the house, I saw this…

My little Austin was injured by the hawk!

My little Austin was injured by the hawk!

Oh nooo, she was injured! I went back and found a puncture hole through the skin layer of her chest, under her right wing. She was no longer bleeding, and I could see the lining under her skin. It seemed intact. My poor little Austin…but she is strong, she had to be to survive the beginning of her life. She will be fine, and a little smarter. Thank goodness for our rooster, Benedict, who always keeps his eye on the sky!!!

This guy is an AWESOME rooster!!

This guy is an AWESOME rooster!!

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