This morning, my husband ran into the house to ask me why there were feathers all over the yard — and had I seen the Mama hen. (Instant pit in my stomach). I followed him outside to find that our best Mama hen — the one who adopted the chicks that all the other hens left behind — the one who fights off all potential predators to her babes including the harmless farm dog — the best Mom a chick could have — well, she was taken. And very much dead. No doubt. And oh so sad.
She left behind 7 chicks — all of whom were running around the yard today — a bit unsure of what they were supposed to do now. By the end of the day, they had all worked out a routine –p based on everything they had learned from Mom. They went to all the eating spots that Mom had shown them. They rolled in the dirt where Mom had brought them daily. They hid out in secure spots around the yard where Mom had taught them to hide. I think they will be fine. But I am very sorry to have lost RJ. She was the very first chick that had hatched on my very first farm. She was an accidental — but most welcome — birth. She was an egg that I had left behind in the coop (from my daily egg rounds) — having no idea that a hen was in the process of hatching her out until the day I saw little RJ running around with her Mom and Dad in the yard. She got her name from her Rooster Daddy, whose name was Roosty Roo. And since she was his only offspring, we named her Roosty Jr = RJ.
RJ will be missed. And please believe, we have made every attempt tonight to secure the hen house to thwart whatever predator took our girl! For sure it will be back — and sadly, we may have to end it’s life in order to secure the lives of our flock. Such is life on a farm. But life does go on — as her 7 chicks will continue to frolic and grow. I will be sure to post pics soon.