The last time Bud got out of the backyard and went after one of the chickens he got a mouthful of feathers. Last night he and Zinnia got out of the fenced-in area and went after the hens.
Jon and I found Brown Hen on the ground and White Hen hiding in the lilac bush. I thought Brown Hen was dead, but she was just in shock, playing dead or both. When I picked her up she came to life, squirming in my hands.
I put her and White Hen in the coop, then went looking for Kitty and Anne who were both safe in the pole barn.
Bud got more than a mouthful of feathers this time. I put antibiotic ointment on Brown Hen’s wound and she and White Hen spent the night in one roosting box in the coop together. They don’t usually sleep next to each other.
This morning White Hen stayed in the coop with Brown Hen when Kitty and Anne hopped out.
We never named Brown Hen and White Hen (although these descriptions have become their names) because we had so many chickens die before we got them that I didn’t want to get too attached to them.
But here they both are eight years later, healthy and still laying eggs. And the only animal that has threatened them is our own dog.
I can handle a dead chicken, just yesterday I fed the hens some sliced turkey. But that Bud is the one who attacked our chicken is the harder part.
Although I know it’s not unusual. One of the ways Bud survived the first years of his life was by killing small animals. Not that our hens are small. They’re as big as he is.
Jon wrote well about animals eating animals and the dangers of anthropomorphizing them on his blog this morning. I like to think of our farm as the peaceable kingdom, but we’re all animals here, including us humans.
And instinct is strong.
When our hens got attacked by the foxes at old Bedlam Farm, I nursed one of the injured chickens back to health, but she died shortly after that. I vowed if a hen ever got injured or sick again, I’d euthanize it, having learned they don’t often survive such attacks.
Most of our neighbors would have just cut off her head and plucked her for chicken soup by now.
But here we are again, and I’m slathering ointment on Brown Hens’ wounds, keeping an eye on out for maggots, and giving her the opportunity to heal.
I guess, even though I tried not to, I got attached to her after all.