Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Way Nature Intended

I just finished a paper. It was an informational piece about factory farming and the varying viewpoints about the controversial topic. Now I’m starting to write my next paper. I planned on writing about sustainable agriculture and how we really should all be living as nature intended.

Then I woke up this morning.

I had big plans to head down to Sheep Street to help in the sheep shearing. Thought maybe I would learn a thing or two from the pros and maybe Blanche wouldn’t freak out the next time I try to shear her. But my plans changed in a hurry.

You see, Sweet Pea, one of Old One-Eyed Calico Jack’s lady friends, has been sitting on a clutch of eggs. The first to hatch did so last night as I was heading out to class. At some point the tiny hatchling somehow fell out of the nest box and was just lying there getting cold. The engineer rightfully assumed it couldn’t get back in the box and helped it, sticking it back under Sweet Pea.

This morning I found the little thing still inside the box, but not under its mother. Then as I looked closer I realized it was bleeding. She had pecked its head so hard it was pretty seriously injured.

I snatched it up, easily. Sweet Pea’s sister, Precious, would have grabbed my arm and twirled me around a few times before sending me sailing across the room had I tried that with her babies, but Sweet Pea actually seemed like she wanted me to get rid of it.

By the time I rounded up all the necessary gear to keep it warm and safe I realized I wasn’t going anywhere today. I wasn’t sure if it was just an accident or if maybe there was something wrong with the baby and that’s why she was trying to kill it, but clearly I needed to stick around for awhile to figure out if it would live.


Not long after that I found another baby outside of the box lying on the floor. Once again, Sweet Pea acted like she didn’t want anything to do with it. If they are not kept warm, they’ll die. So in the make-shift brooder it went. At this point I started to realize Sweet Pea was more concerned with her eggs and sitting on them than the babies. Apparently she has the instinct to go broody, but didn’t really understand why the heck she was doing it.


It wasn’t long before hatchling number three joined its clutch mates. Clearly she was tossing them out to “protect her eggs”.

She’s freaking nuts.

So, I had planned to go to quilt guild tonight, I was really looking forward to it. But instead I’m on homicidal chicken momma watch. There’s another baby under her now, I can hear it. And about twelve more eggs.

I’m just sure this is not what Mother Nature intended.

The slant of my next paper may have to change.


Cynthia said...

I haven't laughed so hard in quite awhile. What a hysterically real glimpse into the world of best intentions, theories and life.

This hen is also part of nature's way, just not how we ordinarily think of it. When I was 9 I had a cat that was a dramatic sex maniac with her heats. She would entice every tom in the neighborhood until, finally pregnant, she turned to an equally dramatic advertisement for birth control: She would jump from any tall roof or tree, eat a variety of weeds and drink quite questionable standing "water" pools until she would finally abort the litter. When one of these rounds failed to end the pregnancy and she had a litter, she became so obsessed with the after conception rituals my parents finally realized they needed to have her spayed (it was early '50s and little was discussed about neutering pets).

Over the years I have met and heard about other critters equally crazed. I can't wait to hear how this ends. Thanks for a wonderful chuckle.

Renee said...

Maybe you should put a pillow under the roost. Let the babes have a soft landing. Do you have to chew up worms and regurgitate them for the hatchlings? What do they eat?

I know I enjoyed the concept of kids more than the actual having them - at least once they became teenagers. ;-D

Christine said...

Ewwwww! No Renee, I draw the line at worms. These babies will eat some chick feed from the farm store. lol

dee said...

May I recommend to you David Kirby's "Animal Factory" I think you will appreciate it greatly.
That chicken is nuts!

Whosyergurl said...

Why do we let our animals rule our lives? :-)
I'm glad those babies have you!

LeaAnn said...

I enjoy your posts. Maybe your hen has a factory mentality. You know, she does her "job" and then sends the product on to the next worker to finish. (That would be you).

Karen Anne said...

How are things going with the chickens?

Nancy K. said...

Oh, for crying out loud!

And of course, you just have to know that she'll be one of those hens who goes broody every time you turn around...

I hear they make real good SOUP!


Terri said...

Poor thing - she's just mis-wired. Glad you were there to save the babies - next time you might just have to give her golf balls to sit on! They don't break open to reveal those disgusting little fuzzy things that must be pushed away from the nice, clean eggs! :)

Katie :o) said...

Oh, too funny! I enjoyed reading! Found your blog through Jilly at Backwoods Castle :o)