Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rose and June set up coop-keeping with Sara---and a Hawk Attack

Happy Ostara/Easter/Passover/whatever holiday you may celebrate! We're just relieved that Sara is still here to play her part in the Easter animal parade (figuratively speaking, of course). Yesterday, this red-tailed hawk attacked Sara, and although we're still not entirely sure why, it seems to have been scared off when we heard the terrible commotion, and came outside. (Either that, or Sara fought back?) The hawk didn't go far, though---just flew up to the top of what's left of our silver maple (maybe 14 feet high?), and didn't even flinch when Steve tossed sticks up in that direction to try to spook it. S/he still was eyeing up Rose and June, who had wisely taken refuge under a forsythia bush.

Sara lost quite a few feathers in the attack---the hawk seems to have been systematically plucking her right underwing---and she was pretty shaken up at first, but now she seems otherwise okay.

There's a nick in her skin from the plucking (it hurts to even think about it!) but she didn't bleed, thankfully, and her feathers will come in again. Lesson learned by the humaniamals. Even in the city, hawks are hungry. So the days of our chickens wandering freely around the backyard are over. Their coop is plenty big for the three of them, of course. Still, we hate the idea of keeping them in a cage, even if it is one that's roomy and moveable, as their "chicken tractor" will be. We need to keep them safe, but it does make you think about what it means to keep what is essentially a prey animal safe from predators in the outdoors...

Otherwise, Rose and June have been settling in nicely to their new living situation with Sara. Sara's still boss chicken, and Rose, who is smaller, doesn't get as much of whatever there is to get, but...she has a secret treat source that Sara and June don't know about! Steve cut back the wild grape vine, and showed it to her, so now she drinks the sap that drips from it, as you can see from the photo.
It's still pretty brown and bare here in south central Wisconsin; we're just south of the north woods, after all. It sure will be nice when more greenery emerges. Things have at least dried out a little, though, the chickens can enjoy dust baths, and they aren't wearing boots of mud. (Wish we had a photo of that to post, because they look really funny running towards you with their mud "clodhoppers"! Next time it rains, maybe...)

Crocuses are coming up, though...

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