Singing the Chicken Trouble Blues
Four new chicks had hatched. We were excited and filled with wonder as we watched the baby chicks learn to walk. They would topple over and land on their heads, only to hop back up and wobble around some more. Mama hen was being very protective and wouldn’t let us get too close. For several days we watched as the chicks grew steadier and ran circles around mama hen.
Except for one. It was smaller than the others and had trouble staying upright. Perhaps it had left the nest too early, for it could not keep up with the others and eventually, mama hen didn’t pay it much mind when it fell behind. She had a way of gathering them all in when the other chickens got close and she would push the chicks underneath her and sit on them until the other chickens curiosity faded and they wandered elsewhere.
During one of these sittings, she smothered the runt chick to death. We found its lifeless body and then we were down to three. Fish camp ensued and we left for a few days to get the camp set up downriver. The teens stayed home to tend to the homestead while we got camp established. Several days later we returned to pick the kids up and take them to camp. Remember, we have no cell phones here, so all news from home was on delay until we returned. We were met at the door by the youngest teen, who happens to also be the chicken whisperer of the family.
“MOM! YOU WON’T BELIVE WHAT I SAW!” were her words as I walked in.
“What’d you see?” I asked.
“A RAVEN STOLE A CHICK AND I WATCHED IT FLY AWAY WITH IT SCREECHING IN IT’S MOUTH! I’M GOING TO NEED THERAPY FOR THIS!”
The therapy comment made me laugh and she thought I was laughing about the chick being stolen by the raven. No amount of talking could convince her that I wasn’t laughing about that…
So we went outside and counted the chicks. Only one remained. One had been smothered to death, one went missing and the other had been stolen by a raven, witnessed by a horrified teen with a soft heart for chickens…