Terror has struck our happy little existence. I have been expecting hawk attacks since day one. They are my biggest concern. We have tons of them here – hawks, kites, harriers, eagles, etc, etc. And I love them, I do. They are wonderful, top predators that indicate a healthy ecosystem. They are also top predators that can swoop from the sky with lightening speed and kill your chickens before you or they knew what hit them. I know this and, thus, have been keeping a close eye on them when I let them out. I am with them, and I spend my time looking up in the skies and the trees. They also have a very strong instinct to be wary themselves. A flock of geese or a low-flying airplane usually sends them running to the coop for cover.
However, I have gotten a tad nonchalant with my supervision of late. I have walked away for a minute here and there. I have gone inside the house for brief periods, all the while, watching them out the window and checking the sky and trees as always. Today I have learned that this is not good enough. This afternoon, I let them out and then I came inside for a minute. I was looking out the window at them and I noticed two had made their ways from their side yard (we call it the “ag area” because it contains the chickens, fruit trees, and garden boxes) to the front yard. This was probably one minute after I’d walked inside. So, I went out the front door to shoo the chickens back to the other side of the fence and as I was walking toward them, I started doing one of my frequent headcounts. One…two…wait, what is the big brown thing by the door to the run? It looked like a paper bag. Then about .001 seconds later I realized what it was – a hawk! On the ground at the opening to the run! I didn’t stop to think. I just ran at it and screamed – “NO! NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” That worked and it flew up into a nearby tree. And from where it was on the ground, stumbled Lady B. My girl.
She stood there, shaking her head and sneezing blood.
I ran and scooped her up and yelled for Brian. In my arms, she closed her eyes, streched out her neck, went kinda limp and coughed some more blood. I expected her to expire any moment in my arms. I hugged her to me and waited for Brian to usher the other chickens back into the run and lock them up, then the go in the house and close the dogs in his cave. The dogs would surely not be helpful if I came in with a bloody chicken in my arms. Anyway, I brought her in and looked her over. She opened her eyes now and again and moved her legs a bit, but I had almost no hope. However, she somehow had no extrenal injuries. Normally a hawk swoops in and strikes to knock the prey silly or even unconscious, and then quickly tears into the flesh, commonly ripping off the head entirely. Apparently my screaming interrupted the tearing part. However, all that blood and no extrenal flesh wounds couldnt’ be good either. Maybe worse… head injury, lung injury, something….
Anywho, I started this post with her sitting in my lap, snoozing, wrapped in an old towel. I was having a hard time typing with one hand and Brian was wanting to let the dogs out of his cave, so I moved upstairs with her. The blood stopped after her initial sneezes, and she has been able to stand up and shift her position. Sorry… I’m a bit scattered on this post because I’m spending a lot of time with her. I started it a little af ter 3pm right after the attack. It is now almost 10pm and she is still alive. Lots of sleeping, she doesn’t want any water or anything, but it’s my job to try to keep her hydrated. IT’s a wait and see game. I’ll post tomorrow on her progress if she makes it through the night.