I am a worrier. Not about regular stuff like bills and the future and such, but about souls.
chicken souls to be exact.
I know that I do what I can to protect these little critters, but sometimes that isn’t enough.
So I worry. I worry that some evil mink or racoon will decide they want a late night chicken or duck snack. I worry that the bunnies will dig out (again) and all those Eagles soaring over head will feel like rabbit for dinner.
And I am getting better- really, I am . I don’t sob with worry anymore, but I still worry late into the night.
And last night was no better.
It got cold yesterday here on the farm, and windy. So windy that the coop doors blew closed.
So, as I was feeling pity for our critters, I made them a warm pot of Oatmeal & molasses for a bedtime snack. There I was in the early dusk, trotting down the to meadow to tuck everyone in for the night.
Only they weren’t in. They were locked out.
Which means I had 28 chickens to find (in the dark) and put to bed.
In the dark. And by dark, I mean DARK. No streetlights nearby, no house lights… just dark sky and the stars.
And missing chickens.
Our big rooster had done his duty and collected our smallest bantam hens and there he was, huddled up with 6 mini’s beneath his giant wings.
A few of the others were tucked up on a branch, all huddled together in the cold.
And here is a quick aside about chickens. At dusk, when they are settled for the night, you can just pick em up and move them. Like sleeping fish… if fish actually sleep?
So, I could move about 5 chickens at one time just by scooping them all up together. . . which was totally cool.
Even tho I was still freaking out about the lost chickens.
After moving the “obvious’ chickens inside the coop, I started on my search for the stragglers. Still missing 6 chickens, I need to expand my search.
This is why I ended up climbing an apple tree, in the dark… wearing boots with a heel.
And this is why I was out there, in the dark, alone and begging the chickens in the apple tree to “please come a little closer”
I found all but two. And even after the hubs got home and we searched (in the dark) for another hour and then he went down after the kids were in bed… we were still two chickens short of a full coop. (and yes, I am sure there is some very clever joke about that somewhere)
And all night, with the temperatures dropping, I worried. I worried about what we would tell the girls about the missing chickens (MO, and Shelley… two favourites, of course). I worried about stepping on a frozen chicken carcass one day. I worried about if the chickens were scared, or lonely out there in the dark, without their flock.
I mean, they are just “little” chickens.
I worried myself to sleep, and I woke up worrying still.
This morning I kept myself busy inside while Hubby went to wake the critters up. I knew he was out on the chicken hunt again, and I continued to worry about what he would find.
He was down there an exceptionally long time. Too long for an average morning of letting out the chickens.
I pictured him scouring our acreage looking for a frozen chicken. I imagined him finding ‘chicken bits” after a predator feast last night.
And then he came up. I heard his feet stomping at the door and my imagination went wild. I pictured myself curled up with cold chickens in my lap, warming their wings by the fire as they thawed out.
The door open, and hubby happily informed me the chickens were FOUND!
One had hunkered down safely in the some long grass and come scurrying out as soon as she heard him at the coop. The other had spent the night UNDER the coop… pulling whatever heat she could from her flock.
And so I learned. Chickens are a heck of a lot hardier than I first thought.
And now I can stop worrying about them . . . but I will still worry about those damn ducks.