Monday, August 6, 2012

Roadrunner and Lily

Last December while we were away on vacation a bear broke through the roof of our chicken coop, smashing everything inside to bits and eating many of our chickens. The few hens that survived went to a neighbor and long-time friend who has chickens. One of the surviving roosters went to my grandpa's chicken coop, and the remaining rooster, who liked to sleep in trees anyway, we let loose and hoped for the best. Roadrunner survived, mainly by sleeping in the in-laws carport to escape predators I think. Fortunately they rather like him there, even when he crows by their bedroom window at 4 a.m. Roadrunner was a very lonely chicken and always hung out near people when we were outside, though he never let us touch him. And he always tried to come in the house. He'd stand at the screen door and peck imperiously. If the door was open for a moment unattended he'd dash in and make himself at home. Finally Grandfather had mercy on the poor fellow and asked the neighbors for one of our hens back. So, Lily, one of our flightiest, feistiest hens came back home. They were a sweet couple, him coaxing her to come nearer the scary humans to get food and running as fast as he could whenever she called. She survived alongside Roadrunner for a couple months...

Until the day she disappeared to sit on a nest full of eggs. We'd snagged eight eggs from her nest to put in the incubator (which all hatched--looks like four roosters, four hens) since it didn't look like she was going to sit on them. I left a golf ball in their place. This usually works to keep hens from abandoning the nest when their eggs disappear, because they think it's an egg. Not Lily! She immediately moved her nest. We couldn't find her eggs anywhere. A couple weeks later she only showed up once a day by the deck to eat and drink, so we new she was sitting on eggs. We kept looking for her nest and almost three weeks later found it almost in plain sight, nicely hidden in a corner of the carport under Roadrunner's roost. 

Two days later we were treated to this: 
Lily has Ten lovely chicks :) She keeps them hidden from us most of the time, but we get a sneak peek when they come over to the deck to eat and drink. And we get to hear them chuckling and peeping under the house, their usual daytime refuge.

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