Friday, January 4, 2013

Fine Dining on the Farm

We currently have 15 hens on the farm. Yesterday, we very nearly had 14! While feeding the goats some leftover goods from the garden, the hens and I were watching them gobble up some leftover cabbage. Suddenly and out of nowhere, the hens were in complete and utter chaos. Our two farm dogs were there, watching. The goats ran from their cabbage patch. The hens continued in their hysterics and frenzy like never before. I stood right there. Watching and not seeing what swept in so fast. Standing among the hens, on the ground to the surprise of the dogs, goats, chickens and myself was a beautifully marked, Chicken Hawk. Actually, I think the hawk was astonished also! The hens all ran for cover. The dogs inched forward. I watched the hawk from only 15 feet away. Then it flew off to a low branch on one of the walnut trees. The hens were frozen statues of themselves under trailers, in the barn, under the truck, anywhere they could find cover and safety.
The hens were immediately invited back in to the security of the coop for a few days recovery. Normally, they roost in the coop and venture out of the coop and barn for most of the day as they have a full two acres to roam and forage.
Once the coop was made ready for full time occupancy, they were all called in for dinner. Slowly they came. First from the barn. Then from under vehicles and trailers. Finally, the last of the girls made it into the coop with a heavy limp. She was the one that took the full flying force of the hawk in the leg. There was no blood and no broken bone, but the fluff of her feathers told the story of fear. With the young juvenile hawk finally leaving the farm, but hovering close by, the hens will be dining in for a few days.
Today they dined on organic grain, cabbage leaves, kitchen scraps, and seeds served in very nicely scooped out spaghetti squash dishes! The girls really like to know they are given the best dishes around!
We will continue the regimen of grains and fresh vegetation for the next few days. Once the hens have settled into their coop and built their nesting holes in the fresh straw, they are ready to roam again.
In the meantime, fine dining from squash skins, cool fresh water, safety in the coop, and sides of grass hay will help their recovery.
Here is is the oldest hen in the bunch. She is a Buff Orpington, called Beauty.
Here is the one that got away! The Black Beauty with blue green legs, which are the same color of the shell of the eggs that she lays. Lucky, as we will now call her, is an Americana. Life on the farm...

1 comment:

  1. What an awful experience for your girls - I am so glad they all came through it, although they will likely be quite scared and nervous for awhile.

    Love what you are feeding them!