Friday, December 12, 2008

29. 17-1=16.

I went out to let the chickens loose from their coop this afternoon.

I called to them, as I usually do, and heard the scampering sounds within as they queued up inside next to the hatch door. After opening it up, I like to stand back and watch them race out -their first breath of outdoor air for the day like the first they have ever had. Do the chickens remember being outside yesterday? Do they remember their past? I used to try and count the ten of them as they raced out, but since we have added more hens and subtracted a rooster, the dynamics have changed and they don't all rush out in a bunch. The three newest ones have been slowly adjusting to their new lives with us. The Partridge Cochin, Patty, is a loner and keeps to herself mostly, but the other two that I call Lucille and Carmen are best buddies. Pulled on a cold day out from the bundle of feathers made up of ten chicks, we took these two home and have only just recently opened up their dog crate mini-coop housed inside the main coop. They have gotten by just fine with the other hens because they have no idea they are at the bottom of the pecking order. Their presence has benefited Patty as well since that role was hers when these two were kept apart and she was the new one. Carmen, who my husband calls "Thing Two" assimilated quickly and explored the outside right from the start. Lucille, or "Thing One" is a shy girl and peeps loudly when Carmen is out of sight.

Today, as I stood in the chilly December air and watched the chickens make their way towards their favorite places, I was pleased to see Patty settling into place amongst the bunch. She was trying to keep up with the crowd on their way to the bird seed. I turned the corner and opened the lock on the latch of the dutch door. I saw Lucille over by the waterer. About to step inside, Carmen lay at the foot of the door. She was quite still. I am not certain, because I didn't witness the events, but I have suspicions that our one remaining rooster, the very docile and lovely Dottie who has tried to make the moves on Patty recently, might have tried to mate with Carmen. She didn't survive whatever happened to her after I left her snugly tucked in against Lucille in their mini-coop last evening. Poor Lucille. She had a very best friend and now does not know how to get along without. As I try to coax her to befriend me by holding out morsels of homemade bread, she makes quiet peeps.
I wonder if she will survive without her buddy.

Carmen aka. Thing 2.

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