Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mystery Solved at Cluckingham Palace

Our chickie girl coop is a an outbuilding that sits behind our garage of which most folks were unaware even existed. Handy Man cleaned it out and moved all of his wood and stuff to the back end and fixed up the front end for the girls. In order to keep the chickies from pooping all over the wood, he built a wall with chicken wire to divide the room. It went from floor to about a foot and a half from the ceiling,and left at little triangle space open at the top.
Well, recently while I was observing the coop, I noticed the chicken wire at the top was bent. I immediately brought this to Handy Man's attention for fear a varmint had gotten in there and tried to climb in the coop. Handy Man said, "No, Snow Queen was perched up there, she didn't stay long, she didn't like it much." "I'm going to have to finish off that top piece."
Wednesday night, Handy Man Pappy was out with 1st Lt and Bean and Bugg feeding scraps to the girls. He comes in the back door and says, "One of the little silver girls is gone."
I knew he would never, ever risk my running around like a chicken with my head cut off, hysterical, if he hadn't looked really, really well, which made me feel a little hysterical right off the bat.
I went out to join them in the search. Jetta is an Andalusian. I chose those because they are said to be friendly and excellent foragers-bug exterminators. What I didn't realize, is they are also smaller bodied, so they fly better. Jetta's sister, Black Thermostat, is in love with Handy Man. As soon as he parks his fanny in the yard, she flies to his arm. The second he strokes a feather she settles right in for some serious attention- I digress. Anyway, I wasn't at all surprised to know it was Jetta. I got a rake and swept through the underbrush all around the coop. 1st Lt. brought out his crazy dog and my guess was, Jetta flew out of the chickie yard and was terrified by Gracee and was hiding. There are no really independent chickies. Even when they find themselves out of the yard, they walk up and down the fence and squawk until we save them. No Jetta.
Now I'm feeling a little teary and I know a chicken hawk or neighborhood dog has taken her.
In retrospect, what turns out to be most interesting to me is the rooster's behavior. You know chickies have this rotund body and a wee head, which indicates a wee brain and aren't considered to be in the running with earth's brightest creatures, however the Silver Wyndotte Big Cat Daddy knew one of his girls was gone. Every chickie girl was on the roost, except him and he walked the floor and made this sort of low moaning sound.
I just walked around with him hoping I might hear Jetta somewhere. Finally, I gave it up, shut the first door and watched to see if he would get on the roost- no. As I turned to walk away I heard a different sound, looked back and there she was on the other side of the chicken wire. The rooster looks at her, climbs up on the roost. She had been hiding in the wood.
So, Handy Man goes in after her and she tries to hide again, and now she's ruffled Handy Man's feathers, so he pulls her out by her feet and you have never heard such screaming in your life, which in turns sets off the whole coop in cacophony of clucking and poor rooster has to get back down. I take her and try to soothe her and put her back in the coop, where the rooster nails her then calmly goes back to roost.
Gee- it's a soap opera in the chicken coop, however there is no more space at the top of the dividing wall.
Stay tuned for the next installment: What fowl has Arwen fallen in with?

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