Three Little Hens

Those of you who’ve been following my blog for awhile know that we got started with twenty gold sexlink chicks.  They are sometimes called Golden Comets, sometimes other things.  There are, I’ve learned different names for what is honestly a pretty amazing type of chicken.  The roosters are fast growers, big and meaty, but also good protectors.  The hens are little, sweet-natured and natural born egg layers.

Of those first twenty, we had, by luck or fate or because Little Dude thought the little yellow ones were “cuter” than the ones with brown splotches, seventeen rowdy little cockerels.  My ‘Rowdy Boys’ of whom our Double Dots is the last man standing.  I’ve talked about them a lot, because they were so plentiful and amusing, and because it seemed like we were doomed last year to not have very many chickens who laid eggs.

The three little hens were more laid back, letting their boisterous brothers take center stage.

There was Rebecca, our little Becky girl who was the first to let us pick her up.  She liked to play with Little Dude and loved cuddles, but was also fierce and wouldn’t hesitate to defend herself from the Boys when they played rough.

Ava, the standoffish one who didn’t mind being petted by would prefer to be by herself.

And Abigail… who was a mother hen in the truest sense of the word.  She mothered her two sisters and protected them from the Boys and from us (because heaven forbid Little Dude or I try to pick them up!).

She laid the first egg in our flock, went broody first, and hatched out the first (and only, so far) chick to be raised inside the flock.

My Abby girl who lectures me, her brother, her son… who looks out for the other hens and is, in truth, the gentle Boss of the coop.

We lost Rebecca to a predator and Ava is the real reason we have The Fence now.  I miss them every day.

There are no words to explain how special Abby is, the only one left of those three little hens.  We all love her.

Today, she gave me the biggest scare ever during morning chores.

I let the chickens out of the coop, like usual.  Then let the Littles into their tunnels, and gave everyone morning treats.  I counted heads, like I always do.  I think it’s habit, since losing Becky and the others, I count heads every time I go down to their pasture.  I couldn’t find Abby.

Not really a big thing – she usually runs out, eats from the treat dish, gets a drink of water and runs back into the coop to lay her egg.

Except… she wasn’t at the treat dish.  Or the pond.  Or the dirt bathing spot.

Or her favorite laying nest.

After checking all the usual places, I walked the length of the pasture – TWICE – and checked the rest of the barn, top and bottom.  I walked around the barn.  All I could think of was… something big had to have carried her off because she was there one minute and gone the next.

But no.  I found no signs of struggle or blood.  No half mangled carcass, like Becky had been.

By this time, my upset had not gone unnoticed by the roosters.  Dots and Pip had herded all the rest of the hens into the run, Dots watching and bucking nervously.

I honestly was about to cry, because she couldn’t just disappear like that.

And then I decided to count heads and check laying boxes one last time.

And found Abigail in one of the nests in the middle of the row, five beds down from where she usually lays her egg.

I don’t know why I didn’t see her before, but I didn’t.

What I do know… there is never going to be a time where her ‘disappearing’ will ever not scare me.

 

2 thoughts on “Three Little Hens

  1. That is the worst feeling in the world! I do the same thing with mine. I count every time and start panicking when I am down a chicken. Most of the time they are on a roost smushed between two others or in a nesting box that I over looked. But the panic I feel hasn’t gone away. Glad Ms. Abby was safe and sound 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t like miscounting, especially not when it’s Abby I can’t find. I worried so much that I somehow missed her last night and left her vulnerable to a predator. I’m glad she was just trying out a new laying spot, but it was very scary for a few minutes!

    Like

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