Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Bravest Chicken

The numbers in my chicken flock slowly dwindled away through predation until, tragically, there is only one little hen left, one of the Weird Sisters.  She came from Connecticut to Kansas as a peep via the United States Postal Service.  I can no longer disparage chickens from Back East as sissies or weaklings because she has survived everything. 

She was a free range chicken and she could fly high into the trees to escape danger.  I could not catch her until Jake started chasing her one afternoon when I was thankfully at home. Either she made a major miscalculation or Jake's hunting instincts were improving, but he finally cornered her.  I believe she was ready to give up the ghost but I got to her in time.  Though I hate to imprison such a courageous spirit or deny her the flight into the tall trees, the only way she will be 95% safe is to live in the chicken pen.

I stuffed hay into the little chicken house and she took up lonely residence in the once noisy and crowded coop.  This spring she started crowing at dawn like a rooster.  She gets better the more she practices.  It is actually quite well done.

One morning she did not come when I called her to feed and I was afraid that maybe she had perished alone.  But no, she had laid a nest of nine little eggs and was brooding them.  I lured her out with food, and while she was busy eating I stole her eggs.  She blames Jake for the theft of her clutch and each time he nears the pen she screams threateningly at him.  She is such a warrior that he actually backs away. 

I promised to either get her a clutch of fertilized eggs or buy her some peeps this spring, but with my current work schedule, that is out of the question.  For the time being, she will have to live alone with nothing but my admiration for the toughest chicken in Wabaunsee County.

Unjustly Imprisoned!


Kathy said...

What a gorgeous thing. I guess I thought all of your girls had gone to the belly of the coyote long since. Here's hoping you do find a way to get her some companions. A lone chicken is a sad chicken, especially when confined to quarters. I laughed at the description of fierceness so strong even Jake was cowed. But I agree with your decision to keep her out of reach. I doubt chickens will ever win over dogs for long.

Jackie said...

I may have told you I had no chickens left at one time, because I would not see this one for days and think surely she is dead. Then she would show up at feeding time with the dogs, and I would be happy to see her. I tried to catch her at night, but even then she was too wiley. So I guess I have Jake to thank for her life, ironically enough!