|Cowboy and company (Buff Orpingtons)|
As I neared the hen house, I saw all the chickens clumped under the big cedar tree in their yard. Not a good sign; hawk for sure. I quickened my step. Sure enough, there on the ground was a hawk! Next to it, staggering around like she didn't know what hit her, was Chicken Little.
Not that screaming and yelling and charging a hawk does much good, but that's what I did. The hawk simply flew up to a branch in the pecan tree that shades the shed. It quickly became apparent that I was not going to let it have Chicken Little, so off it flew.
|Chicken Little after her close call|
I put her in the dog carrier with food and water for the night, and went back to the shed. The chickens were still under the cedar tree, fussing. There was the hawk, on the ground in the same spot. It flew off when it saw me coming.
The next day I let Chicken Little out of the carrier and tossed down some scratch. She could eat just fine, so the beak wasn't broken. My concern turned to the other chickens. Chickens are extremely ruthless to their own kind and with those fresh wounds and scabs on her head, I was afraid they would attack her themselves. Plus, being the littlest and youngest, Chicken Little is already at the bottom of the pecking order. She is the only one who hadn't experienced hawk attacks, and didn't know to take cover when Cowboy sounded the alarm.
All that day she was rather subdued and quiet, taking frequent naps. I kept her in the goat shed, shutting the gate to keep the other chickens out. The goats couldn't get in either, but with nice weather they weren't any worse off for it.
Yesterday she ventured out again.
|Chicken Little and Surprise|
I couldn't keep her separate forever, so I just observed after letting the rest of the flock out to free range.
|Chicken Little in the foreground. The rest of the flock about their business.|
She already knows to stay out of their way, and there were no worse squabbles than usual.
We do talk about a chicken tractor with a mesh top to protect from hawks. We see other problems with that, so the jury is still out. Animal housing is at the top of our discussion list these days though, so we'll be making some decisions soon.
Chicken Little's Close Call © Sept. 2012