If you live off the beaten path and have animals of any kind, predators are simply a part of life. They don't care that your animals have names, or that you raised them from babies... predators have babies of their own to feed and a meal is a meal.
And when you have chickens, this is the last thing you want to see...
Most days I turn my silkies out for a little 20-30 minute "recess" in the afternoon while I sit nearby underneath a shade tree with a book, keeping a watchful eye out for danger.
Friday was different- I had just arrived home from running errands and had a million things to do, so I decided to turn them out for just a few minutes while I unloaded the bags of chicken feed from the back of the car.
Then I heard it.
The awful noise of chickens under attack.... and knowing I wasn't fast enough to run up the hill in time. Smokey, however, is quick like lightning when "his birds" are in trouble, so he ran up the hill and into the woods with me huffing and puffing right behind him. In all the confusion I was trying to sort out if everyone was accounted for- the birds were upset and running for cover- but I knew from the knot in my stomach someone was missing. After doing a head count, I realized it was Pola, one of my splash silkies. Pola is named after the Marilyn Monroe character in "How to Marry a Millionaire" who was always bumping into things because of her terrible eyesight... Pola's feathers completely cover her eyes and she's been known to bump into the door of the coop and walk past the feeder three or four times before she finds it. Apparently, Pola also never saw the danger approaching until it was too late.
I followed the trail of feathers left behind and it looked like she put up a pretty good fight... and a couple of times I thought I heard her still moving around in the thick woods behind the coop, but after almost an hour of searching, Smokey and I turned and sadly walked back down the hill.
Hubby and I had plans for the evening and were gone until almost dark. We pulled up the driveway and something in the headlights caught my attention.... something was moving around the chicken coop.
I could not believe my eyes when we jumped out the car for a better look- it was Pola trying to find a way to get into the coop! She was filthy and very thirsty but seemed to be unharmed, except for a big bald spot where her little fuzzy bottom feathers used to be...*grin*...
Hubby and I both agreed it was Smokey who saved her life- when he ran through the woods it must have scared the predator enough that it dropped her and took off.
Way to go, little buddy. You're our Hero!
That night I started thinking about the conversation that could have been taking place in the chicken coop... the other hens might have noticed Pola's dirty feathers and bald spot and asked,
"what happened to you?"
I could almost imagine Pola telling the others,
"you wouldn't believe what kind of bad hair day this has been...."
Happy Tuesday, everybody!