Please, Rhode Island Red!

Studio Portrait, Michael Winokur

Monday, January 10, 2022

(January’s “Wolf Moon” now Waxing Gibbous, will rise at its fullest on the 17th.)

My lunch “hour” is thirty minutes long. Just enough time to drive four miles to home, handle a couple of must-do chores, and drive back to work. My chores are to let the dogs outside, hurriedly toss hay to my horses, and then bring the dogs inside.

This deep-winter time of year is bitterly cold. My aging dogs and young puppy stay inside while I’m away. Of course, dogs inside and unsupervised for long hours isn’t ideal. In my situation, it’s a reasonable choice, and mostly they sleep. The puppy minimally is destructive.

Yesterday during lunchtime while hauling hay to the horses, I spotted a chicken outside the coop and standing in the horse’s area. Rarely a chicken flies over the fence, but that happens. And “Dang!”, this was the Rhode Island Red, intolerant of being handled.

When I tried to herd she ran in all directions. I opened the coop gate to entice her in, and my goats got loose. Suddenly, I had to chase a hen and two goats.

Not enough time to work these problems.

My rational mind knew goats could be recaptured, and they were. It assumed Red would stay near her fenced-away flock, and Rooster kept calling for her. It guessed she could wander, might become lost or injured. It worried about a raptor grabbing her, and gobbling (not long ago my neighbors lost a hen to a Golden Eagle).

My rational mind had to decide: call the boss to say I’d be late, or leave things and hurry to work. I didn’t have the boss’s number, so made the decision. “Somehow stay safe, Red. I’ll return at dusk. If I find you perched and roosting, I’ll lift and return you to the flock.” My rational mind added, “Little chance then of finding her.”

I worried all afternoon and after work rushed home. No sign of Red. She wasn’t roosting in sight nor were there scattered feathers suggesting a snatcher. I searched the property with a flashlight, not finding Red.

After haying the horses, I carried chow to the goats. Inside the goat area, my chickens roost crowded-together on a bench. As usual, I counted them. Seven? I blinked and peered, counted again. Counted yet, again, and yes there were seven! With Red squeezing among them!

Relief washed through me. Leaving her running loose had been awful, and worst, were my hours of fearing her lost or hurt. Today, my rational mind again is busy. What if now, Red is a too-educated hen? Might she become an adventuress, at will leaving and returning to her flock?

If so, she’ll wind up as a garage mate to my still-thriving Old Welsummer hen.

Dear Friends: Happily all worked out well, I still have a job and seven chickens. Diana

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