May 25, 2011

Missing Chicken

This morning we drove down to the barn to conduct our normal morning chores. I fed the sheep oats while Jordan tossed scratch to the chickens and pigs (yes, the pigs like chicken scratch). Then Jordan opened up the chicken run to let them out and I counted, as I always do to make sure that we are starting out the day with the correct number of animals. But this morning I only counted seven chickens - one was missing. And worse, upon closer examination, it was Pearl!

Pearl is the nicest chicken of all time. She follows us around and likes to be pet and held. She is the perfect animal to introduce "city kids" to farm animals.

A coyote or opossum better not have eaten my Pearl!

Sometimes a chicken will get broody and decide not to leave the nest boxes, so that was my first check and no one was in there. Next I checked to see if Pearl was being lazy and sleeping in. Nope, the coop was completely empty. Jordan and I looked around for signs of a struggle. Nothing. Last I decided to try the barn. The chickens like to go in there and scratch around the hay bails. As I opened the barn door Pearl can walking out.

She looked like she didn't get any sleep. Sort of ragged and blurry-eyed. Kind of pale, if that's possible. She chirped a quiet "thanks" as she made her way back to the run, right up the ramp and into the coop. I can only imagine that she flopped down on the roost the way I do on my bed when coming home after a late night of wine and friends.

What probably happened was that when Jeremy opened the barn the night before to get alfalfa for the sheep, the chickens went in. He always shoos them back out, but it would be easy enough for one to be behind the tractor or stack of pallets and not be seen. He must have closed the door with Pearl still inside pecking away.

This evening Pearl is back with the group and looking much more rested. Since we have a farm-sitter coming for the long weekend, we'll have to double-triple check that no one gets locked in the barn before we leave.

1 comment:

Robin said...

Ah, I'm glad that pearl wasn't missing for good. We've had two chickens die of who knows what over the past year, but never one that went missing. A missing chicken would drive me crazy because then I would be wondering the whole time what happened to it.