Happy Peeps

September 5, 2011

Scaredy Chicks

Spent the day with my mom today, and cooked up half a dozen of our eggs for her and my sister, which they raved over (you can call my family the Polite Ones, because no one ever says a bad word about anyone, but I could tell they liked their scrambled eggs, nonetheless).  The color of the yolks is so bright, almost an orange tint as opposed to the usual weak, butter yellow color of commercially raised eggs. And a very rich taste. (According to my nephew, this is because the fat content in the yolks of brown eggs is higher; he especially likes them for making ice cream and for baking.)
When I got home, I had purchased some farm-fresh veggies at a local stand, including a dozen ears of corn, so I took a couple of ears we had been saving for a week out to the girls. They were enjoying them and I was cleaning out one of the waterers, when all of a sudden there was a huge rucous behind me, with about half of the hens seeming to rush forward, (Foul, fowl! Off sides!) half running, half jumping/flying in the way that only rock-heavy birds with weak wings have. They were all making a racket; some had run under nearby bushes, one went underneath the side porch, and yet another hid underneath a third bush to my left. Cackling was going on all around me, yet I couldn’t pick out yet where all of them were located. I had a sense that some terrorizing hawk could have swept down behind me and taken off with one of them, and I didn’t feel comfortable until all were accounted for. Except they weren’t coming out of hiding. I called my usual call (Chickeeeees! Here chick-chick!) More cackling in hiding. I started roaming the yard to look for them and try to get a count. I found the Silkies Eugenie & Beatrice, thanks to their stark white feathers which stand out in the shadows, and the youngest chicks Princess Catherine, Oprah, and Whoopie, all under one bush near the old fire pit. I found Pansy & Violet under the magnolia tree.  Rose was under the porch and would not come out, no matter how much I sweet-talked her. Where was Grace? Where were all the black hens? Slowly a couple of the black hens peeked heads out from under bushes. One was hiding in the herb garden. Still, I didn’t feel comfortable. Even came out with some cucumber skins I had peeled a little earlier, no budge. Joe came out and joined the search. We were getting concerned; this wasn’t like them at all. “Why don’t you try the corn scratch?”  (This never fails to get them to RUN across the yard).  I handed the bucket to Joe and he began the customary Shaking of the Corn Bucket. They didn’t budge. They cackled on and on for a good 10 minutes before they would venture out to get the corn.  A chicken that won’t come for corn has been severely traumatized. By what, I’m still not sure. It could have been a large bird I guess, swooping into the yard. Luckily, all the girls were eventually accounted for, and my “short-attention span theatre” hens have forgotten all about it. Tomorrow they will wake up and think it was all a bad dream. 

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