Early this morning while the dew still covered the grasses, Hubby went for a walk in the upper field. It is sporadically covered with cactus and gives plenty of coverage for the ducks and chickens to hide from the hawks. We were missing one of our black Jersey hens and he was looking for signs of foul play. We have lost a lot of fowl this year. In January we had eighteen Production Red pullets, we now have six. There were twelve ducks of which six remain. Nine chicks hatched and only three survived to adult hood and of course, our three black Jersey hens of which one was now missing.
I was in the barn yard feeding the geese, ducks, chickens, and rabbits waiting on a report from him. The goats were still in their side of the barn being lazy. One doe was sleeping in the old bathtub (the goat kids like to play in it when they are young), two were sleeping in the extra-large dog kennel, and the rest were sleeping by the door and feeder. It was a fairly quiet time for everyone.
As Hubby opened the gate to the upper field, a black streak zooms past me toward him. I laugh and call out that Mere, our black barn cat, wants to go with him. Hubby waved and off they went. All I could see behind him was the tip of a slinky back tail sticking up in the air twitching back and forth. Mere was trotting along behind as if she were the farm dog.
I think that Mere is confused as to what type of animal she really is. When she was born she was dropped off at my brother’s farm when she was very small. She was maybe four weeks old. Mere found her way to the chicken coop and lived there with the chickens for several months. She ate chicken scratch and drank from a chicken waterer. My brother eventually started to feed her but she preferred the chickens for company. After my brother died, Mere (full name of Come ‘Mere) came to live with us. She hung out with our ducks and geese. She still eats chicken scratch, mice from the barn and cat food. However, she doesn’t like our other two cats.
Back to the story: Hubby checked the tree line on the creek side first, ducking under the limbs and disappearing into the leaf covered area. Mere hopped up on an old tree stump and watched as he hunted in the grasses there for any evidence of foul play. From there he came back out into the field walking slowly up hill. Mere hopped down from the stump and once again only the tip of her tail was visible waving back and forth as they looked for feathers or remains of our bird. Half way up the slope was another tree stump and up she jumped for a better view point I guess. Hubby continued to beat the grass but nothing was found. Evidentially he turned around giving me the open arms and shrug of shoulders look.
Slowly he and Mere return to the barn area. He said it was a good walk but not a sign of the missing hen. Mere on the other hand was as happy as could be twining herself between his legs and loudly purring. I had finished feeding and was ready for a hot cup of tea. Time to let the goats out and go inside for a bit. Good morning all around. Well, except for the missing hen…..