When I came out of the house for a chicken break, I was surprised to see no chickens. Not one.
Generally, they all come running, because they know The Chicken Lawyer's breaks always include chicken treats!
It was a pretty nice day, so I immediately started looking for my birds...
I walked over to the side of the house with the big coop, and yay! there were 3 chickens. But wait a minute, 3 chickens - where are the rest of the chickens?? (They RELIGIOUSLY travel together - See above proper pack formation.)
These were just 3 ROOS hiding under shutters leaning against the side of the big coop. 3 ROOS do not hang out together without a hen or two, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dru the Roo leave his ladies...certainly not to spend guy time with Angel and Xander, his arch enemies. And the Roos made it clear they were perfectly content staying UNDER the shutters. My stomach churned.
I headed over to the next side of the house, where I found one on my redheads cowering behind the little coop. Again, not usual chicken behavior. I went to inspect closer, and found poor Cordie hunkered down in the spearmint patch, pretending she wasn’t there. My redhead decided to join her, and they were in definite shock as they just hunkered down more when I went to pick them up. Thinking they might be injured, I left them be for a bit, and continued my search.
On the next side of the house, I found Faith and my other roo digging to China under a bush. As I tried to convince them to come out with treats, I spied my other redhead flying across the yard from who knows where to join the digging crew. My blood, which pretty much ran cold the second I spotted Cordie, started to pump again, as it seemed my chickens were all turning up, odd as they may be.
The cedars are a common hiding spot, so I headed over there to look for Buffy & Spike, my last 2 birds. The digging crew joined me in my hunt at the cedars, but no more chickens were found.
I circled the house again and walked the whole farm looking for Buffy & Spike. I was close to giving up, and called my mom, cuz that’s what Chicken Lawyers do when they are sad. Don’t judge me. Half way through the call, I thought I spied Buffy coming in from the field past the cedars and the old cattle guard, so I ran that way, and yes, it was Buffy!
I was super happy and relieved for five seconds, and then sad hit me like a sack of bricks when I saw my favorite polka dotted chicken, Spike, was not with her.
I gave Mom the news and shook my phone at the eagles circling, and figured poor sweet googly eyed Spike must have been a meal to them, or some other critter. Mom said her condolences, and I went to take care of my 2 chickens cowering in the spearmint. I figured I should gather them up in case something came back for minty flavored seconds.
While I was trying to figure out if Cordie was hurt or just shocked, a chicken started making all manner of ruckus over by my lilac bush. I put Cordie down and headed that way expecting the worst, when I thought to myself, I know that ruckus. IT’S SPIKE!!! And that sound is Spike’s “Buffy did not share the watermelon - it’s not fair!” sound. I’ve never been so happy to see that bird! Spike just looked at me sheepishly and said: Brrrp Brrrp.
Spike’s ruckus apparently called all the other chickens from the cedars, and I smiled to see all of them bolting over to the big coop. The roosters finally came out to greet their ladies, and we had a nice family reunion. Chicken scratch was gleefully served by The Chicken Lawyer. The chickens settled into their usual tribes, just a little more alert than usual. No lasting injuries spotted.
I called mom again, so she would not be worried about Spike, and then I continued walking around the house in circles trying to figure out what the heck happened long after the birds forgot what happened.
I guess that is life with free range birds. I know if they could vote, they would vote to take the risk. We made it from March til October without a big scare, so they are pretty darn lucky birds. I’m very glad they all made it today, and I really love my chickens!