Turkey Tracks: February 7, 2012
Valentine Roosts Outside
About two weeks ago, when I counted chicken heads in the coop prior to locking them up for the night, Valentine was missing.
Valentine is a Freedom Ranger meat chicken. But FRs also lay gorgeous, big eggs. When Valentine first started laying, almost all her eggs were double-yoked. Rose raised her last spring/summer, and I reached into the pen one day and pulled up the first hen I could lay hands on to bring home for our coop. Valentine.
Here’s a picture of her late last summer. Her head, back of her comb, is covered with antiseptic cream since she had some altercation or other with one of the other hens or the rooster. She’s was so BIG at this stage that she scared the rooster–whom she tried to follow everywhere. She’s too heavy to fly up on the coop perch to roost with the other chickens:
Anyway, that night two weeks ago, she wandered up out of the dark just as I realized she was missing. I picked her up and put her into the coop for the night.
Last night, she was nowhere to be found when I went out to lock up the hens. It’s important to lock that coop down tight. On several mornings now, I’ve had racoon tracks all over the fresh snow on the egg box cover.
I took a flashlight and looked all over the yard, in the garage (did she go in and we didn’t see her?), and down the driveway. I looked everywhere every space I could possible think of into which a fat chicken who can’t fly might tuck herself. No luck. I was encouraged that I had not seen feathers anywhere. When a chicken gets attacked, there are always a lot of feathers. But, the flock has been spending a lot of time up on the warm hillside, where the snow has melted and the leaves show. Feathers might not show up in the dark on the leaves…
I told John, and he immediately grabbed a flashlight and went out to look.
No luck either.
This morning as I was fixing all the animals some food, I saw Valentine stroll down the back path. When I went out, food bowl in hand, she came running to me like a young chicken–wings out and clucking. I put it on the ground for her. She was starved. And vocal. After she had eaten a bit, she started telling me some long tale, and she followed me around, still talking, the whole time I was outside fluffing up the coop, changing out the water, and making sure the grain bowl had grains in it.
I can’t imagine where she slept. I hope she does not do it again. But, she is a…Freedom Ranger.