... assuming they ever left. When I walked out to the mailbox today, I saw a pile of white feathers at the end of the driveway. I didn't see any chickens anywhere, so I went back inside. A couple hours later when I was leaving, the eight young chickens were in the front yard without their mama, who is pure white. I've never seen the babies without her since the day they were hatched in July. I am, unfortunately, left with only one conclusion.
I guess this means the llamas are doing their job with the goats and sheep. We have been working on fencing in a large area around our house, the chicken house, and the pond, so that the chickens will have an acre or two to run around where the coyotes can't get to them. It's not done yet, but we know it's already saved a chicken from a coyote. The mama hen and her babies had been locked up in a movable pen until three weeks ago.
When we decided to let them completely free range, we put them in a small part of the hen house that we use for teaching young chickens that this is their new home, the place they can get food and water and where they can roost at night. Usually after a few days, they understand, so when we let them out, they keep coming back. But after we let mama and her chicks out, they did not come back to the hen house to roost most nights. We never could figure out where they were going, but they were usually in the front yard when we did see them during the day.
Somehow in the next couple days, we need to figure out how to get those young chickens back in the hen house before they become coyote supper. Everything around here has been a little harder than usual since Katherine has been down. Her wrist started bothering her when she was at Spanish camp and has been misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed for 10 weeks -- first they said tendonitis, then carpal tunnel. After seven weeks, they finally did an x-ray to find a broken wrist, but after the cast came off and she was in horrid pain, they said it must be a torn tendon, but she has to wait until the 31st for an MRI. In the meantime, she only has one good arm.