Sunday, June 28, 2015

Animals amaze me

This morning I hadn't even finished my first cup of coffee when I heard, faintly, a hen cackling.  Now, it's never a good thing when you hear a chicken cackling before daylight.  Especially since we've had so many problems with varmints lately.  The hen and chicks have their own little house, and I secure them every night, shutting the door.  However, I have gotten lax lately, not wiring the door securely at the top.  This was the day to pay the piper.  

I went running out to the little chicken house and saw Mama Hen frantically running around the pen cackling, with her chicks peeping around her like crazy.  There were feathers scattered around the pen, and one dead, headless chick.

At first only six chicks came out with Mama Hen, and I thought that was what I had left.  Later I got to thinking that if there were only six chicks left, there would have been three corpses, not just one.  So I went back to the little house and peeked into the corners and found two more live chicks, petrified with fear, and shooed them out.

I went on to do the cattle chores, and Mama Hen was still in the driveway cackling when I was done.  She was obviously traumatized, and was still cackling for over an hour after it all happened.  

Finally she acknowledged her babies and foraged around in the yard and garden all day.  Cliff and I had plans to lock the hen and chicks into her little house/pen securely tonight, and then put our varmint trap right in front of that house, baited with the headless chick that was killed last night.  

When we went out at dusk, I heard the chicks peeping loudly and the mom clucking, but they weren't in their little house.  The noises were coming from the big hen house.  Mama Hen was sitting on a nest in there, as it turns out, and the babies were trying, one by one, to fly up and join her.  

I was amazed.  I was speechless, and honestly, almost had tears in my eyes.  Chickens are among the dumbest animals God ever created, but that mommy thing is stronger than any weak mind, and the hen had no intention of letting her babies be killed.  She had moved out of that death-trap of a house.

I shut the chicken house door, knowing no chickens would die tonight.  We did put the trap in front of the now-uninhabited brooder house.  I doubt we catch anything.  But Mama Hen has it under control, and no chickens will die tonight.

There are still eight chicks left, and they know Mommy isn't going to desert them.

God bless mothers everywhere.

Psalm 91:4  He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day


Helen said...

Bless her heart. She is determined that no varmint will get a baby tonight.


What a touching story. So sad they were all traumatized like that. She is a good mama for sure. Their protector no matter what.

MRuth said...

She's dang cute, I hope she comes a long soon.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I love the verse at the end of your post. What a great reminder that all are under His care.

Sister--Three said...

The psalm you choose is perfect!

Sister--Three said...


Is it too hot to put a setting hen under a tub?
Could I use a big plastic one?
And do you leave them under it 24 hours?

Donna said...

Sister-Three, I am so sorry I didn't get around to addressing your question. I've sort of lost interest in blogging, and forgot about your comment. From what I read online, the main thing is that the hen not have a comfortable place beneath her that might feel like a nest. My mother used to use an upside-down clothes basket, the old-fashioned woven kind, with some sort of weight on top of it to hold it in place in case of wind. This last hen was an exception to every rule I ever read, and left me scratching my head. She did die in the heat, so perhaps you won't want to try breaking up a broody hen when it's hot.

Sister--Three said...

Donna, I miss your post but understand the ho hums about blogging.
I would feel like that too, but my blog is really only a record of
Our lives for family. So I don't have to think of what to post; I just
Post what the kids are doing and it is a lot! Lol I know those of
You that stop by my blog probably think--good grief-- talking about
Fear grandkids again! I have been blogging all of sigrids, Claytons
And Greta's life so it is quite a log.

Now to the hen, I would have just picked her up off the nest like I do
A ba tie hen that sits, bus she attacked me everyday. I go fed up with her.
So I put her under the tub on gravel under the shed where it is pretty shady.
I was afraid she would did but I would not really missed her. Left her
There 2 nights and almost 2 days. Worked great. She is not sitting

Sister--Three said...

You will have to cipher what I wrote as I used iPad and can't see
What I am typing...garbage in garbage out.