I had a rough day but it ended well and now I have a heart warming Valentine’s tale to share ;).
Penny and Baby are best “hens”. They have been B.H.F. (best hens forever) since we got them in October. Baby is known for her black tail feathers and bad temperament. She likes to crow at the top of her lungs when either her or Penny lays an egg. She’s also known for pecking at us if we touch Penny or get near their eggs. Penny is the gentle hen. She’s mainly brown and is the easiest to hold. Her eggs are speckled and she began to lay last.
The hens have an enjoyable life. They sleep in the coop at night and they roam freely in our fenced in yard all day. They like to play in the rain and catch worms. As of late, they’ve started hiding eggs under the shed. Things have been different since we brought home Annabelle. The hens are torn between following us for food and running from our new pup. But Annabelle means no harm. She just likes to play chase. So life has been pretty safe for Penny and Baby. But that was about to change.
Our backyard has been a haven for many birds. Our cat stays inside and we keep our yard a little wild. It’s the perfect place for a juicy worm or euphoria inducing berries from the cherry laurels. Penny and Baby eat beside the Robins and Cardinals. It’s a utopia. But today was different. A shadow passed in the sky. The little birds began to fly away and the yard got very quiet…
I had been having a rough Valentine’s. I went to the homeschool room to get on Michael’s computer. All of a sudden I heard a loud thud which scared the mess out of me. I went to the window and opened the blinds. There was a chicken sitting on the AC unit attached to the window. What a strange day.
A little later I heard Penny crowing at the top of her lungs. Usually Baby is the noisy one. I didn’t realize it was a warning cry. Baby is always making noise so I didn’t pay attention. Ten to fifteen minutes later my neighbor calls. Her husband saw a hawk fly into our yard and he said the chickens were being very loud. I hung up and ran out the door, just in time to see a humongous brown hawk fly out of the yard. I saw Baby hiding under the boat. She was freaking out and I couldn’t get her to come with me to the coop. I finally lured her out enough with food and I carried her to the pen. She was locked in and safe but where was Penny?
I searched every corner of the yard and I looked into the neighbors yard. I even got on my knees into the mud and looked under the shed where they lay eggs. No sign of Penny. So I went in to get Annabelle. She’s very good at finding the chickens even when they hide. Annabelle and I searched the whole yard. She was drawn to the coop with Baby in it but she wasn’t concerned with the rest of the yard. I called my neighbors to see if they saw the hawk carrying a chicken or maybe the chicken flew over the fence. They can fly high enough to walk the fence. Alas, no one had seen Penny.
Not long after the hateful hawk left, all the birds started returning to our yard. They brought their friends as well. I was overwhelmed by the amount of birds. Dozens upon dozens covered the yard and trees. I went out to look for Penny again. I saw birds I had never seen before. It felt like a bird funeral or maybe a bird meeting. Maybe they were mourning Penny or discussing what to do about the hawk. Well, still no sign of Penny. Surely, she was too big for the hawk? But maybe he hurt her and dropped her. What a selfish overly ambitious creature the hawk was! I found a dead Robin near the fence. It’s head snapped off. What a wasteful and cruel hawk!
Funeral of the Birds
Community Meeting to Discuss the Hawk
My husband Chris drove down the road after work. He couldn’t find Penny. When he got home, my Hubby scoured the back yard for any sign of the little hen. He looked everywhere I had and under the shed too. No Penny. Then he found her…well, parts of her. When he told me, I expected to see bloody pieces. Instead we just saw a mass of feathers in a pile. We looked for a body but could find none. It was clear…the Hawk had struggled lifting her but it had succeeded in carrying the hen away. Penny was good as dead. We announced the news to Michael and him and I hugged. Baby was now all alone on Valentine’s. She had lost her BEST Hen, her B.H.F. Tears welled up in Michael’s eyes.
Chris went to put cedar chips in the coop. Baby would have to stay in the coop a couple days to recover and to keep the hawk away. We also vowed to only let her out when we could supervise. Then we would put the hen back in her coop each day. There would be no more free ranging all the time. Baby had lost her freedom because of the Hawk.
I stepped out the back door to say something to Chris. Michael was behind me when we both noticed a little brown tail going under the shed. Could it be? Was it Penny coming out and going back in? Or was it the Hawk trying to get to their eggs? Surely, it was Penny! Michael hooped and hollered and I took off running. It was Penny! Chris began to cluck to Penny and lure her out. We all lovingly rubbed her head. The poor hen was missing several feathers and her beak was a little bloody. I cleaned her wound with rubbing alcohol and we placed her in the coop.
What a miracle! Baby didn’t lose her B.H.F. after all! They were together again and completely safe from the evil Hawk. We were all exhausted from the stress of the day but we were thankful for our Valentine’s surprise. This called for celebration and…take out!
“What do you want to eat?” asked Chris.
“I’m not sure. Anything I guess, except…chicken.”
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover