"Any time you give your heart to anyone or anything, you run the risk of it being broken, but to deny yourself of that love isn't living fully either."
No, a famous poet or writer did not say that, I did and it's true. On the farm there are a lot of opportunities to have your heart broken, a calf dies, your old dog succumbs to heart disease, you have to sell your old, gentle bull to make way for the next generation, your much loved puppy kills two of your much loved chicks, leaving one still alive and one missing in action and presumed dead.
All the above happened, I was especially distressed about Murphy going rogue, I thought I had trained her that the chickens were mine! This happened just a few days before we left for WI, since I found one chick, a Blue Wyandott, still alive out of the four, and only two bodies, I had hopes that the Speckled Sussex had also escaped and was out here somewhere. But as each day went by, I came to the conclusion she was also dead, Thursday morning we took off for WI and the chickens were on lock down for the duration of our visit.
Fast forward past Bruce's birthday blog and it's Sunday night, I knew it was supposed to get very hot and muggy at home so talked to my chore people and asked them to open the chicken scratch yard into the McGregor yard on Monday morning. The chickens will still be confined but they can get out among some plants and trees and shade, out of the hot house, I didn't need to come home to hard boiled eggs.
We arrived home at 5:30 Monday night to a couple of excited collies, "You're back!! You're back!!! We thought you were gone FOREVER!!" I didn't even try to enforce the "Stay down!!" law that we are trying to instill in Murphy especially, excitement was bursting out all over and there was no way their four feet could stay on the ground. I had to run to the chicken house before going to bale and there, in the apartment with Little Blue, strolling around as though she had never been gone, was the Speckled Sussex, now named 'Lucky' for obvious reasons! I couldn't believe my eyes!!
The only thing I can think of, was she was hiding, very well, I might add, in the McGregor yard that entire week and with the gate open on Monday, found her way back.
Whatever, it was a wonderful sight! She seems no worse for wear and Blue is so happy to have her sister back.
When we arrived back home after attempting to bale hay, it turned out to be too wet, I checked on Larry Jr.'s little bride in the blue jay cage and there was a tiny yellow head peeking out from under her feathers!!
How much more excitement can my heart take???
I couldn't wait to shout the great news to the world but first I had to call Jillian and see if she knew anything about the chicks and she did not, she'd never seen Lucky before. But I'm going to have to give that girl a raise!
I had a hard time staying away from the bluejay cage on Tuesday, every time I went out, I'd find another egg shell and exhausted chick, by that night she was the mother of 6 babies, each one of her eggs hatched. Larry Jr. did good!
His little bride is a ferocious mother, she didn't like my interfering in her business and made no bones about it. Wednesday morning I heard her talking to her babies and knew she was off the nest, I peeked in, over the brick wall I set up so they wouldn't fall out of the house and there she was, glaring back at me! "What do you want NOW?" She had all the babies tucked under her feathers, looking for all the world like Scarlett O'Hara at the ball at Tara.
She huffily ushered her little family back into the carrier.
|"Come children, hurry, hurry, one, two, three....."|
And then there is the one who doesn't listen.
|"But why, Mom?"|
She won out and got them all back in the carrier but she still wasn't happy until I got the heck out of there.
There was one remaining egg, the one the frizzle laid in the nest that led me to the discovery of it. I left it, not knowing when Larry's little bride had started setting. Now I know it was about July 1 because it takes 21 days to hatch. This egg could still be fertile and it needed to be incubated another week. I had another broody hen in the coop sitting on a golf ball in case I needed her so I switched out the egg for the golf ball.
She seems to know she is sitting on the real thing now and is much more vocal when I'm around, it would be something if she would hatch the foster chick, how would she feel about a frizzle baby?
I knew the blue jay cage was not a good home for these tiny babies, they would never get up the long ramp so I called my pet caretakers, I knew they had a dandy little chicken, rabbit, duck coop they bought this summer and soon realized it was too small for their flock of 5 hens. Tim and Jillian brought it over, eager to meet the new family. It is perfect, it's Murphy and other varmint proof while giving them lots of room to explore. There is a little ramp from the nest box to the ground floor, this morning I heard one little chick cheeping frantically. Evidently the little hen took her babies exploring to the ground floor but failed to count heads going back up the ramp and left him behind. He was happy to cuddle in my hand while I returned him to the nest box but did I get any thanks from his mother? N-O-O-O-O-O!
Instead she glared at me, "Well for crying out loud, there are SIX of them, I can't be expected to keep track of each one!"
I think she has a lot to learn about being a mother.
I'll send out invitations to a baby shower soon.