Here's what I observed while sitting on a log outside the chicken pen:
- Mia the Pregnant Dog spotted a little white cheeper who had managed to wander into the former hog pen that adjoins the chicken yard. Mia's tail stump went up, her ears raised a fraction, then she hesitantly scooched under the fence and approached the chick. I wasn't quite sure what she was up to. She began walking behind the chick, urging it forward and staying close on its heels until she had it safely back in the pen. There was only one moment of concern: when Mia was trying to wedge herself back under the fence to get to our side of the hog pen she looked at me with alarm when she got stuck. Apparently, she wasn't aware until that moment just how impressive her girth has become in this late stage of her pregnancy. Still, she perservered with getting the chick back to its flock. Nice to see her maternal instincts kicking in.
- Rooster Boy rules the roost. As I sat there quietly and dusk began to settle around us, he stood up tall in the chicken yard and crowed a distinctive, well, crow. He was eyeballing Lone Hen, who had wandered over to the garden. His message was clear: "Hey, woman, get your feathered behind back over here. Night's falling." She gave him a look over her shoulder, made a little cluck in reply, scratched around for a moment or two more to show him she was her own woman, then sauntered back over to the pen at a leisurely pace. To his credit, Rooster Boy was not tapping his foot at the pen door awaiting her arrival. About 10 minutes later, as the sun sunk a bit lower, he went into the coop and hopped up on a perch. Again, he stretched himself as tall as he could and let out another crow. This time, all of the chicks - big and small - who were still milling around in the chicken yard, filed into the coop. Oh, there were a few unruly youngins who decided to take one more turn around the yard. They were acting casual and unperturbed, but they picked up the pace a little bit right there at the end and hopped up into the coop. Yep, Rooster Boy is the man.
- Gertie is trying to make up after her petulant behavior of the other night. As I was sitting there on the stump, she sauntered over and nibbled at my pants leg. When I said hello, she butted me gently on the knee with her head. I nudged her back and we sat there for a few minutes butting and nudging, but she never broke contact with my knee. Then, for good measure, she nibbled my pants once more. We're friends again.
- Now, here was the most curious thing of all that transpired down by the barn. I noticed Mia looking tense and on point, standing over next to the two new rolls of fencing we have waiting to encircle the new chicken yard. She looked like she was guarding it. Struck me as a little weird. Then, Gertie walked over and began rubbing her horns against the wire, hooking the edges with her horns and butting it. Mia went berserk, barking and raising her fur. I figured there must be some little rodent cowering under the wire that Mia was afraid Gertie planned to abscond with. I hollered at them to hush then turned my attention back to the chicken yard.Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of the cats acting odd. I glanced at him and saw he was stalking something. I looked to see what held his interest and the only thing I could see in his range of vision was...another roll of wire. Not the same kind of wire that Gertie and Mia were freaking out over. No, this was a whole different type of wire. So, here's what I surmise was going on: Sometime today, a vicious roll of wire attacked some innocent in the barnyard. Details were likely sketchy, but word must have gotten around that wire was involved and was to be feared. Could be that the farmyard authorities issued a warning on the heels of the frightening and unwarranted incident and now the critters are suspect of any wire they see - no matter whether the wire they're encountering is of the same variety, let alone, political persuasion as the offending attackers. What we have here is some profiling going on. I'm not saying the attack didn't happen and that there isn't reason to be nervous. But, I do feel a little sorry for the new fencing for getting such a chilly reception, and for that other old roll of fence that's been right here in our barnyard all this time, never hurt a soul, who the critters are now eyeing with suspicion. Let's hope the fear and alarm blows over soon, so everything will just settle down, down around the chicken yard.
Keeping the peace on the farm,