It All Started with a Squawk from the Backyard
I raise silkie chickens and one of the hens went broody. I hatched out a bunch of chicks for her using my Little Giant Incubator and stuck the newly hatched chicks underneath her. The silkie took to them immediately and thus, an adopted chicken family was established! Now, this silkie is a really good mama hen. She keeps her chicks close and any time anything flies over head, including squirrels leaping from trees to trees, she squawks loudly as a warning. Her chicks will immediately scramble either underneath her or the chicken coop to hide from the potential predator.
At first I ran outside every time I heard her squawk. Without a rooster, my hens are vulnerable to aerial predators like hawks. I was going to have to replace the rooster and scare off these predators myself. Eventually I got tired of rushing out to chase away morning doves and gave up checking. I figured that mama hen would squawk at anything, even falling leaves.
And then one day, my hen squawked, like she normally does. For some reason, I felt a slight sinking in my stomach. I don’t really believe in gut feelings or intuition, but I convinced myself to get up and go check on the mama hen and her chicks. As I stepped out the door, a shadow shot by me on my left. The hungry neighborhood hawk swooped down, ready to snatch up one of the chicks!
It had to be the craziest thing I had seen so far. Time seemed to slow down and I saw every detail: it’s huge yellow beak, angry yellow eyes that burned like the sun, sharp talons that swiped at the air, and massive wings extended wide with feathers billowing in the wind. It was beautiful and absolutely terrifying. The chicks scattered and the hen screeched, trying to beat the hawk with her tiny wings. Then, I did the craziest thing I’ve ever done so far outside of getting married.
I ran right at that mean hawk!
I hollered and flapped my arms like a lunatic. The poor hawk stumbled over itself in shock. I don’t blame the raptor: my big butt must be a sight to see barreling across the yard cussing up a storm. The hawk immediately took off, hauling ass up and into the nearest tree. I quickly herded the hens back into the coop and locked them up for the rest of the afternoon. The hawk decided to linger nearby and I wasn’t ready to try and chase it off again. After making sure the rest of my animals were safe, I rushed inside to let my husband know what happened.
It’s freaking Animal Planet out there!
I remember the slow motion shots from the Animal Planet documentaries where the predators take down their prey. It was nuts to see it in real life! I ended up making a chicken area near the coop under a huge tree with a lot of hiding spaces. So far I haven’t had any more hawk trouble. The chicks are growing up and feathering out. I can already tell which ones are gonna be roosters.
So that’s what I was up to this weekend. What about you? As always, continue to be kind and tender to one another.
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