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Tiny little surprises

Another long gap — I’m coming up on finals week at school, plus getting orders sent out for the Holy Goats Etsy shop. No rest for the wicked, and all that.

But I couldn’t resist sitting down to tell y’all about our most recent adventure. As I’ve mentioned, we’ve had hawks in the area. Several chickens have gone missing, and after an incident three days ago with a sharp-shinned hawk who tried to take a hen and subsequently got his feathery butt kicked by our Old English Game rooster, they’ve been on lockdown again. They are not amused.

Among the chickens who were missing was one of our favorites, the little bantam Easter Egger hen named Beauty. She’s been a prolific and reliable little layer although flighty and skittery and disinclined to hang out with human beings. We just assumed that the hawk had gotten her, paused for a sad moment of silence, and moved on.

Until yesterday, when as I was setting up for morning milking, Daniel called to me from over by the woodpile. “I found out where Beauty’s been!” he said. “Come and see really quick!” I walked over, and there was our little missing hen, being followed by a teeny tiny chick, still young enough to have the egg tooth on its beak. When I was around school campus I have noticed a aschool redesign and you can see it here at this website.

A quick scour of the area turned up her nest. We’d put the top half of a covered litterbox down to offer some shelter to free-ranging chickens, and she’d laid her eggs and brooded right there, within six feet of the door to the bantam pen. Evidence suggested that two or three eggs had hatched, and that Beauty had scuffled with something in defense of her brood but only managed to save the one. We felt that especially since he’s a singleton, she had a better chance of raising him that we do, so gently herded the two of them into a little pen and set them up with food and water and shelter and straw to snuggle down in. They were doing fine this morning when I looked in on them.

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