Saturday, March 10, 2012

Terror from the Sky

So... this past Wednesday when I was attempting to play a bit of catch up and get all my veggie starts re-started, we had a bit of a scare. By we, I mean me and the chickens.

I spent just about all day outside. I tossed the dirty dishes and dirty clothes aside (half figuratively and half literally), and spent the day luxuriating in the sun, dirt, and the feeling of (finally!) getting something done.

Albout halfway through my day, I had to go inside to sort through my seed box and find the seeds I needed to plant. My seed box is a crammed to bursting CD storage box, btw. It's slightly bigger than a shoe box. While I was inside I hear the chickens sound their alarm call. I *thought* I had heard it before. I had not. I jumped up, threw my shoes on, and ran outside.

This is the first thing I saw:
cue panic attack.
I heard Zora barking and turned, just in time to see something escape from her grasp and fly up into the trees. I only saw its back, but jeesh it was big. My best guess is a Red-shouldered hawk - I saw it clearly as it went up into a loblolly tree... and while Red-tailed hawks are bigger, and are actually known to munch on free-range chicken, the coloring on the Red-shouldered hawks fits better. It was such a ruddy brown color that at first I thought it had got a chicken. (But it hadn't.) Zora had gotten to it in time, and pounced on it. (It made it up into the tree).

At this point I still didn't know if one of my chickens had been hurt, so I frantically called them (cheep cheep CHEEP!! If you must know) to no avail. Not a single one of them would come out from under the barn, although Wanda in her infinite curiosity peeped her little face out and stared at me as if to say "Are you effing kidding me?". I got some dog food out and scattered that on the ground. Dog food is like crack for chickens. There is nothing they won't do for it. Cindy will jump up into the air to grab it out of your hand. As will Henrietta. And a few others. I crawled around trying to see all the way under the barn to count them. I finally gave up and hovered nervously around until they relaxed enough to come out.

It took like 2 hours. It felt like an eternity. And I *hovered* for the duration.

Finally - FINALLY! - they came out from under the barn. And I counted all 8 (Big Bunny is still in the brooder/infirmary by his lonesome and was fine. Although he full-throatedly participated in the alarm call). Whew.

Many many chickens get snatched by hawks. Many many. So far we have been extremely lucky. I think most of it is probably due to the fact that the chickens' territory is deeply wooded and they are pretty well hidden from view from the sky. Ah well. There went that plan.

On the lookout. (the barn isn't but a foot behind her)
Zora continues to be my hero. And she continues to be on the lookout.

Lizard eyes. Don't be fooled. She can be 50ft away before you realize it.


Danika Shmanika said...

Whoa! Scary and Zora is a hero!

Danika Shmanika said...

Whoa! Scary and Zora is a hero!

Kerri said...

And no chickens were harmed in the writing of this blogpost.

Thank goodness!!!!

(secretly glad that Big Bunny was never in any *real* danger, however, would have still mourned over any loss of chicken)

George and Kerri said...

<3 Zora!

elizabethfais said...

So glad no one was hurt! You go Zora!!!

caitlinvb said...

Big puppy, as zora is sometimes affectionately called, kicks ass. Big time.