This morning was beautiful with sunshine and temps up around forty degrees. By afternoon the skies darkened to a steely blue grey and the winds began to blow down through the holler. Although the temperature remained the same there was a chill in the air that cut clear through to your bones.
Since it was nice this morning I let the chickens out from the coop. It looked like a good day to get some air and exercise. They happily clucked around the farm along with the guineas picking at the green grass that has finally been uncovered from the last snow. Everything was calm, serene, the hens crooning and singing until the sun hid behind ominous clouds and a hawk swooped down from them on a cold wind.
I was in the house perusing the seeds we had ordered for the garden. I heard a loud thump as if a car door had been slammed closed and Ruby began to growl. We were waiting for a delivery from FEDEX and so I thought it may have arrived. Stepping out onto the porch I didn’t see anyone but could hear the rooster making a ruckus down at the pole barn. I knew something was after the chickens and then I heard a screaming sound coming from the wood shed. I saw a flutter of feathers and thought it was an owl but realized they wouldn’t be out this time of day. It must be a red tailed hawk.
I ran to the side of the wood shed making sure I didn’t stand directly in front of the opening. I took my hand and banged it against the metal side hoping it would scare the hawk and it would fly out. It did. Inside the shed I found one of my buff colored hens squished as far as she could get between the wood pile and the wall. I picked her up and held her in my arms. She was shaken up, her little heart beating wildly against her breast, but appeared to be completely unscathed.
I tried to comfort her and carried her to the coop. When I opened the door there was all four guineas hiding in the hen house. They have never been in there before, I guess it was the closest place to take cover. All the other chickens were in the pole barn hiding behind boards and sheets of metal leaning against the wall. The rooster stayed on guard and paced back and forth ready to sound an alarm if the hawk returned.
A little later I peeked out of the window of the house and saw a Rhode Island Red hen high tailing it across the yard as fast as her yellow legs could carry her towards the pole barn. She must have been hiding under the car.
I’m not sure, but I think the chickens might have four of their cousins staying for a visit in the coop tonight. So far no one has wanted to move from their hiding places.
Its inevitable that we will lose some of our animals to predators and we would have today if I was not home. Its life on the farm, but I’ll protect my farm animals if I can. The red tailed hawk is a beautiful creature, but he better go hunt mice and rabbits and leave my birds alone or he may lose a few feathers of his own.
I know that our blogs have been sporadic this winter, but hang in there we are gearing up for spring and a lot of projects are on the to do list. So things will be picking up and we should have a lot to share with you. Thanks for the prayers for sunshine, God must have been listening because we have had a few gorgeous sun filled days since then.