Saturday, May 23, 2009

That Screeching Sends Me Running for my Babies!

We've got Redtailed-Hawks, at least two and maybe a family of three, as one seems smaller than the other.
I hear them screeching and I can't stop myself from running into the backyard to make sure my hens are smart enough to be under the patio, a tree or their favorite hideout, the picnic table.
They usually are under cover with lots of big trees in the back yard, but when you see two hawks take flight out of one of them, you can't help but worry.
I am exquisitely interested in whether on not the hawks are watching my girls. Hunting them. Why else are they roosting in the trees behind my yard?
I wonder if they can maneuver through the branches of my rotting 65 year-old cottonwood tree to snatch up one of my girls. Is that a worthy risk? I would suspect that they would prefer prey in the open, which I why I run to the backyard and make sure my girls are hidden.
Perhaps it doesn't matter where my hens are. They'll get snatched if the hawk's deem the reward worth the risk.
They have been circling for months, maybe they nested in the Post Oaks in the neighborhood behind us early this spring.
I remember driving out of my neighborhood and I looked north to see one of them circling over what looked like my part of the block. I called home and asked my husband to check on the girls. He just laughed and said, "They're fine, honey."
We have raccoons, possums, rats, armadillos and probably a host of other critters that I am completely unconcerned about, but the screeching of the hawks makes my hair stand on end.

Mrytle is Fine. Best Advice was to Trust Your Instincts

Myrtle fractured her leg. I discovered that some bone was poking through, so I cleaned it, feed her water by dropped with aspirin and kept her in her coop for three days. We then kept her in her coop for most the morning, but opened the door mid-day and she would hope out on one leg.

It took about two weeks before she would put pressure on it, but she only has a slight limp now. She has a bump that has totally healed on her leg, but she is doing great.

Egg production has slowed. Both chickens are laying all over the place; under tables, under the oak tree, behind my treadmill. The have made a nest out the the plastic bag that holds the pine shavings for their coop and are laying there. I know Hazel is doing that, but I haven't witnessed Myrtle laying at all. I actually wondered if she is laying period. She must be, although our eggs have been markedly Hazelesque recently; browner with speckles.

I referenced the Backyard Chickens forum for help when she was injured and I got great advice. She nice and knowledgeable people who said to just trust your instinct on how to treat her. It was good to hear that because I couldn't do much else. I made sure she got plenty of water, aspirin for pain and cleaned her injury.

We are pretty sure that she fell or something fell on her, becuase if a racoon got her, he would have eaten her.