Having my own chickens is very rewarding. Not only do they lay wonderfully tasty eggs, but they are like having a bunch of girlfriends around all the time!
They talk and cluck away to me or whoever might be around to hear. They proudly announce when they have laid an egg. They race around leaping and bounding to catch those pesky grasshoppers.
It is so heart lifting when I go out to do my chores and I call out "chick, chick, chick" and all of my hens come running from all over the farm yard, and sometimes my back yard. They talk and talk, telling me stories about their day.
One day I went out and called and all the hens came running, except one, Lucy Lawless. I put the girlies away in the hen house and spent some time walking around calling and calling, looking for Lucy. I went and got my husband and boys to help me look. We looked and looked and couldn't find her. It was a heart breaking day! We were all sad that we had lost Lucy and so completely! Not a black feather in site.
The next day I kept the other girls in, because I had no idea what had stolen Lucy away. Was it a hawk? A neighbor dog? A fox? I had heard that when fox come in and steal, they leave no trace. I know from experience that when a hawk swoops down and steals a chicken, they leave no trace either, it's a clean sweep.
I was very protective of my girls for the next 2 days. On the 3rd day I came out in the morning to do my chores and there was a black hen in with my Andalusian colt, Destino. For a second I thought my other black hen, Henrietta, had escaped my hen house. Then I looked closer and it was Lucy!!
She was so beat up, missing tons of feathers, bloody marks on her cheeks and very upset. She almost wouldn't let me scoop her up. I manage to catch her and trucked her right off to the hen house and all the girlfriends. Lucy was so happy to be back in there!! She talked and talked forever!
I can just imagine what she was telling all the other girls. That poor chicken has seen things no other chicken has. We call her the POW chicken. What a trooper she was. She escaped her kidnapper, and then hid, and THEN found her way home. It just proves that chickens aren't as brainless as some people think they are. It took a few days, but she was back to laying her big beautiful brown eggs and settled right back in. Her feathers have grown back and you would never guess anything had ever happened to her!
Lucy LawlessSoon after this happened, my neighbor came over and told my Mom that he started the summer with 35 chickens and a peacock. Now he has 4 chickens left and no peacock. He and his wife saw a Bobcat come in and pack off a chicken or two, they guess that he did the rest of the chickens as well. Our neighbor followed the trail of peacock feathers out into his hay field and knows that the Bobcat got him as well.
We feel so lucky. We think that our chickens are doing well because they are housed in the middle of the farm. The animals would have to go past three houses and 8 dogs, plus all the horses and the goats to get to the hen house. And my hubby built my hen house so well, I don't think anything could get in there! It's our best guess that it was a neighbor dog that took Lucy. It's very doubtful that she could have gotten away from a Bobcat, a hawk or a fox (unless it was a young fox). And a neighbor dog is probably they only thing that would brave coming in past the houses, the dogs and the farm animals. I'm just so thankful that she escaped!