Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It Was a Dark & Scary Night...

Talk about a scary night! It's getting dark much earlier now that fall is here--and with some of the hens still practicing their Houdini tricks, it can be a challenge to make sure we get home in time to put them in before the raccoons begin to prowl. And finding a missing black hen in the dark can be a real trick.

(It might be helpful to note that our part of town is technically in the city, but in some ways underdeveloped--we have a high raccoon population, and see many of them wandering our neighborhoods in search of eatables. Some of our friends had a taken from their coop and eaten by a raccoon, and the same raccoon later returned trying to drag another hen out through a hole in the coop roof.)

Puja (pictured above) is my daughter's favorite hen, and ours as well. She's pleasant, smart, doesn't screech, lays reliably, and best of all, seems to tolerate if not enjoy my daughter's special attention. If all Black Australorps are this pleasant, then perhaps we need a few more.

Last night it was already dark by the time we got home, so with my flashlight in hand I rushed out to the coop to lock up the door and do the nightly head count. Although I counted several times over to be sure, I seemed to be missing Puja, the favored black hen. I then went outside to see if I could find her, and no luck. After 40 minutes of searching I went and got my daughter to see if perhaps her young fresh eyes might spot Puja, but again no luck.

Finally, as we were getting ready to get in the car and go house to house on the street behind us (thinking Puja had jumped over the back fence perhaps), we checked one last time and found Puja on the cinder blocks bordering our neighbor's compost pile! Naughty Puja for continued escapism, but we were so relieved to find her!

The shot above is one relieved child, walking her favorite chicken back to the coop for a safe night of sleep.
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