Not that one, that’s just a food baby, remember!
It’s been two action-packed weeks since we discovered we had baby chicks, and not just a handful. There were 10 babies and then an 11th wandered out to join them. And then one fell by the wayside, somewhere – the vicious cycle that is cutthroat Mother Nature, and then I made the mistake of naming the runt Little Joe, sad emoji.
Little Joe had me reminiscent of Baby Minnie – small, eyes still not quite open, and not always with the family. Little Joe must have been the 11th baby, and since he was younger than the rest, he was smaller and usually sleeping on the job, so he would get left behind when Princess Fiona shuffled everyone else off to greener pastures or away from those pesky fucking roosters. No one needs to see their antics at 3 days old. And trying to sleep or catch up to Mum means probably not getting all the tasty snacks or getting a drink when the babies sneak over to the water dish while King Cock – AKA Isabella, watches imperiously from nearby. Little Joe did not come back out of the coop the next day, sad sad emoji.
I made a chunnel for my birds – a chicken tunnel. The idea was to link up the chicken yard with the horrendously overgrown garden, which is fenced to keep out the everloving deer. We have a good swathe of backyard with no trees, which apparently acts as a landing strip for predatory fucking birds, so the chicken yard has an enormous net over the top, hence they can’t just wander willynilly to the garden.
Anyhoo, the chunnnel was working great, and Princess Fiona got into the habit of taking the babies for their morning nap out there, away from the rest of the assholes, in the dappled shade and relative quiet of the orchard in between. But owls, motherfucking owls. Owls are not all nocturnal, contrary to what I had “learned” my whole damn life, and “owls” eat birds, other birds, nasty fuckers.
An owl came swooping out of the daytime sky and clawed a baby bird through the fucking wire, grasping the chunnel and pulling and pushing it until it managed to cut off the head of a baby. I know the wire isn’t bullet-proof but cheese and rice, people, I thought it might have been cannibal-proof. Apparently not.
So now we’re down to 8 babies and I count them as often as I see them, because chicken babies, like their human counterparts, find ways to try to kill themselves. I’ve had to cover the fence with more fencing so they can’t wander around the yard chirping about snack time to all and sundry predators, and frankly, ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat because my own babies still sort of try and kill themselves or each other. The only saving graces they have in common is their general cuteness so I, at least, won’t kill them.