Chicken love. I never imagined such a thing, but every so often a chicken picks you to adore. How lovely it is each day to be greeted at the chicken house by an enthusiastic hen! When my chicken love, Gluck-Gluck sickened and died this week after 4 years of true friendship I felt a mix of relief and sadness. She suffered. There was little I could do but hold her in a warm towel after soaks and meds.
Such is life with animals, but if you’re lucky friendship shines on you again and so it is here at Middlemay. While mourning the loss of Gluck-Gluck I couldn’t help smile at Clarissa (Claire) a new Dominique chick with crippled feet waiting to be loved. Most of our new chicks don’t mind me, but they don’t love me. Claire pushes her way through the crowd like a tough running back to jump into my hands whenever I’m around. She sits and coos and snuggles.
No one friend can replace another but isn’t it nice to be alive with the hope of new friendship?
She’s survived a broken leg after getting caught in a hay rack, a month in frigid January trapped with no food or water in an abandoned duck house after a fox massacre (read all about it HERE) and still she thrives on mothering. Limpy is our best layer and almost always broody and happy to sit on eggs–any eggs.
BONUS PICTURE: A Jersey White Chick in the barnyard. Isn’t she pretty?
First my helpers “help” me spread manure in the garden . . . kids, this is serious . . .
Not a lot got done, if I’m being honest.
Corralling the chickens after they’d escaped from the barnyard proved fruitless . . .
The ducks had the right idea . . .
My husband spends the day productively building shelves . . .
while in the barnyard the animals and I wait and wait for Pixie the goat to have babies . . . she’s late.
As some of you know, a few weeks back a red-furred devil (aka the cute neighborhood fox) massacred most of my free ranging chickens. The day was cold and blustery. Chickens were strewn everywhere. I mourned the loss, but was grateful one of my favorites escaped the killing fields.
The weather remained frigid, but each day I spent time teasing my goats and talking to my chickens and ducks. The barnyard can be a noisy place. One quiet morning weeks after the attack I heard a weird scratching noise. I took off my hat to hear better. There it was again. My husband had built a house for our ducks, but they preferred living with the chickens in their coop. The noise came from the duck house.
I opened the door expecting a rat to run out, but there was my second favorite hen Limpy. Last summer she’d flown into the hay rack and broken her leg. We thought she’d never walk again, but made a total recovery. If fact she was the fattest, biggest, best meat bird we would never kill (we haven’t killed any chickens since we got them for eggs, but she would have made good food). Limpy is a great layer and a doting mother as well–the case we often make when convincing my husband which ones to keep if we ever did kill them for food.
So there she was a three-week prisoner in the dark, cold and food-less duck house. I guess the wind blew the door shut on that fateful day after she hid from the fox. She never made a peep.
Limpy looked terrible and a little thin. I wasn’t sure she’d adjust to real life again, but as soon as she saw Gluck-Gluck and was mounted by our rooster she was back. Now you’d hardly know she’d been a prisoner. Her feathers are full and shiny and her comb is back to bright healthy red. Yet another reason she will live as a pet into retirement (as long as the fox doesn’t get her). Where is that silly guard dog?