I woke early on Saturday morning with plans to accomplish a couple of tasks I had put off till the weekend. I had intended to start out by slaughtering and butchering the five roosters (excluding Buddy) that I have grown from chicks (they are starting to crow and I don’t want to become a nuisance to my neighbours). I also wanted to get some more seeds in the ground to be ready for the colder weather coming.
One of the things I like to do on the weekend is to take an early morning walk around the garden. I usually do this by myself and I often have a warm beverage in hand as I take the time to enjoy the environment. I look at my garden and see if anything needs attention, I take some time to watch the animals and see if they are behaving normally. On Saturday I sat in the shade on my decking, coffee in hand, and relaxed to enjoy the silence. After a little time I noticed an incessant “peep peep” noise coming from the undergrowth of my garden. I quickly hopped up and dashed over to the trees, looking under the branches, and whipped my camera from my pocket. I filmed the below video, which is my first encounter with 12 newly hatched chicks from one of my chickens.
This is such a great surprise. I was thinking about incubating some more eggs, so this is a very welcome addition to our home.
I decided that I would leave them with their mother, as I could see that she was being vigilant in watching over them, and our rooster Reggy was close to her to back her up. Around ½ an hour later I had an incident, which required my urgent attention (I will talk about that in my next post), so my family and I went for a short drive. When we returned home an hour or so later I was greeted with a slightly different scene from the bucolic garden which I had recently departed. There were large amounts of black feathers flung about the garden, signs of a struggle, and Reggy’s comb was badly damaged… with dried blood coagulated down the back of his head. I located the chicks and all 12 were present… as were all my chickens.
I put on my imaginary deer stalker and set to work… I think I have sleuthed out what occurred during the time I was out. I suspect a hawk (maybe the same one that took out chicks late last year) flew down to try to gather some new chicks. Reggy, who is a very large rooster and who was close to the chicks, leapt to action. He would have tried to drive the hawk from our property, yet the lack of hawk feathers shows me that he was seriously outgunned. It appears he took a nasty bite to his comb (from the angle of the cut it appears to have been done with the hooked beak of a bird of prey) and many of his feathers before deciding it had enough and it took to the sky. I suspect the hawk, due to the previous visits, and the fact an eagle would have taken Reggy in his entirety shows me that I have sufficient evidence to blame the hawk.
After this Kitty assisted me by gathering up these little chicks and we took them under our wing, placing them in my chick brooder. I was sorry that their mother was so upset at our removing her children, yet I decided that at least we won’t have hawks swooping down to take them or injure Reggy again.