Surprise, Part 2. Less good.

I’ve said before that keeping poultry is mostly heartbreak.

Petra learned it the hard way this week.

Late Monday night (or early Tuesday), Pickens got nabbed by a predator. Given what was left behind, we’re pretty sure it was a possum.

It was a perfect storm of errors, really, both ours and hers. We had the dog inside because he’s been sick and we wanted to keep an eye on him, although, really, he’s been doing better and probably could have been out. The chicken fence is tied into the goat fence system, and the goat fence needs a bit of work, so the whole thing is less zappy than it should be. The current position of the chicken fence is near some trees with overhanging branches. And that silly chicken decided to make her nest out in the middle of the fenced yard, rather than in the coop, which we can shut up pretty tight. All efforts to move her were met with ferocious pecking and wing beating. So we left her where she was.

And that did not end well.

Petra is, of course, quite heartbroken about her chicken. I don’t think she remembers getting Pickens, as she was only one-and-a-half. But she was so proud that her chicken hatched the first chick we’ve ever managed. She was so excited that Pickens was the mama hen.

However, there is a small, fluffy consolation.

Peepachu is very different from the other chicks we’ve raised. Those ones came from a hatchery, and never knew their mothers, or even what it was like to have a mother. Peep learned all about the value of mama in only two days, and now is much more demanding of our attentions than the rest ever were. She’s also by herself (we’ve never had fewer than 6 before), and so I think she’s lonely.

On Tuesday, I actually called our little branch library because Silas wanted to go to LEGO club, but I couldn’t leave the chick at home by herself. The library director chuckled and said, “Well, that is a very unusual request, but I guess it would be alright.” So Peep went on a little field trip.

Petra has been ensuring that Peep is a very well-cuddled chick. Even I held her for a bit while I was working today. It is, as Petra says, “a happy and sad and happy” week.


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