True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lucy and the Ghastly Nuggets

I had read about hens accepting young chicks and caring for them, and I was eager to see if Lucy, having already raised a chick of her own, might take a shining to these wee nuggets.

So on a nice warm day, when they were exactly two weeks old and their Marek’s vaccine was well-integrated into their immune systems, I scooped up the chicks and whisked them outside to greet the sun ---
and to meet an honest-to-goodness chicken. 

Once the chicks were situated on the lawn, I carried Lucy over to take a look. 
I placed her beside the cage.

For a moment, she ignored them  -  but only for a moment.
Then Lucy lifted her head, raised her hackles, and shrieked like a banshee.
The nuggets just stared at her. 

Lucy was terrified. I wonder if she even recognized them as chicks.
She turned and lumbered away from their cage, and scrambled to the safety of my lap. 

Only when she discovered the tag on my pants
did her hackles settle 
and her panic subside. 
After a while she glanced up to find that those freaky little nightmares were still there. 

Poor Lucy. The prospect of enduring motherhood again nearly sent her over the edge.

I carried her back to the safety of the coop and the reassuring company of her geriatric companions.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Once the chicks had grown and it was time to integrate them with the old ladies, I worried for I always do.  Her disability is evident, and the youngsters might very well choose to pick on her.   

But Lucy held her own. 
She and Lil'White share the position of Top Chicken in the coop, and the nuggets have not contested their status.  
They stick pretty closely together, these little gals -  they're a sub-flock within the big flock. 
They don't aim to bother Lucy. 

But Lucy's peaceful afternoons beneath the forsythia
are no longer so peaceful.

And in the coop, I've noticed young Dorrie choosing to stand right beside Lucy --- 

---just because.

Dorrie reminds me of Pigeon.  
I told Danny this, and he replied, "Maybe she IS Pigeon."

Pigeon or not, I think Lucy's in for another big adventure.