Tuesday, September 27, 2011
A Bunch of Scared Chickens
Remember my Potting Place? It was a 16 X 16 foot abandoned dog run where Pop once kept his prize Beagles. He has had a Beagle most of his life until a couple of years ago.He was always an avid hunter and enjoyed the dogs and hunting tremendously,but now that he is much older,he feels there is no use keeping dogs penned up if he isn't going to take them out to run and hunt occasionally.It is costly to feed them, plus he can no longer do that much walking in the fields that it requires.Nevertheless, I converted the dog run into my Potting Place.I got it finished too late in the season to start my seedlings, so I have been using it as housing for my quail and a few baby chickens at times.The quail are enclosed in a second pen within the main enclosure, so they do not run free,but for now, Pop has been letting the Mother Bantam Hen and her babies run free.They come and go in and out of my Potting Shed, either looking for bugs,or just reminiscing over the good times they had spent in there.Regardless of their reasons,the chickens had gathered up inside the Potting Place for a few minutes yesterday, and I happened to be outside and heard an awful lot of squawking coming from the older chickens pen. I dropped what I was doing, and ran to see what was happening. As I turned the corner around the garage, I was almost hit in the face by a huge chicken hawk which had entered the Potting Place,attempting to catch another chicken. He had already caught one this past week,or so we assumed. One was missing and the hawk has been hanging around our chicken yard,but who would have dreamed that it would have went inside the Potting Place after another. He was really big.I.m guessing he had a wing span of at least 4 feet.They look big enough,way up in the sky, but up close, right in your face, they are enormous.
Our older chickens are enclosed in a pen with a really high fence,which we hope would make it hard for the hawk to swoop down inside,grab a full grown chicken and then fly almost straight up to get away.At night, we close the adult chickens up in a smaller pen and chicken house with mesh wire over the top of the pen.There are lots of other varmints that try to get in at night,to kill and eat chickens.With the chicken pen being up close to a wooded area ,the chances of that happening, are greater.
Needless to say, the Mother Hen and her babies are not roaming free today.We both hate to see them housed up in a coop, but for a day or two, until we can rearrange things, they will have to be content where they are.I would think it's better than the alternative.