andyschickenscratch

city girl meets country living, chickens, adventures, humor

A Bad Day

Franklin the Fabulous Frizzle rooster lived a fairly uneventful life, beside the night he spent outside things have been pretty normal for him, that was until one day last week. Franklin now has the most amazing story to tell and I a fairly confident that there aren’t many chickens out there that have lived to tell like he did.

The story actually starts about two 2 weeks ago when a hawk attacked and killed our little Polish rooster. Since then a few things have changed around here, the ducks moved out of their house and in with the chickens, safety in numbers I guess and our ducks and chickens have been living in lock down. I don’t think they minded to much I mean winter had come bringing with it cold and snow and they have the safety of a covered run attached to the coop that they are free to wander during the day, they just haven’t be able to free range around the yard like they once did.

The hawk and our little Polish rooster.

The hawk and our little Polish rooster.

After not seeing any sign of the hawks for at least a week I assumed that they had followed the migrating ducks and geese south for the winter, how wrong I was and for that Franklin’s life story was about to get a lot more interesting.

After opening the small door on the coop that is attached to the outside run for the chickens and ducks it became evident that they were sick of being cooped up. The boss hen, Plum was not shy about telling me what she thought about not be able to roam the yard like she always did so I caved to chicken pressure and I let the flock out for bit with the intention of keeping an eye on them. After watching them happily scratch through the straw that was around the run I headed to shop to do a few things. I had just made it about 100 yards away when the happy quacking and clucking turned in the sounds of sheer terror. Looking at the coop I could easily see what they were all so upset about. There in the run was the hawk, I took off running to save what ever I could from him and when I got to the run the hawk was in there completely motionless like a statue all that was moving on him was his eyes as he stared me down. I have to say it was a little unnerving as he wasn’t exactly small. I thought to quickly snap off a picture of him before I shooed him out because seriously who was going to believe this. He just sat there (insert chill down the spine) while I took his picture. I wasn’t until I moved in closer to get ready to do my best get the heck out of my coop and never come back lecture that he moved and that’s when my heart broke a little, under him I could now see our favorite little rooster, Franklin. Now I was mad no longer scared at all by the hawk I went into full mama bear mode and started yelling at the hawk and hitting the side of the run. He hopped up and made it out the run gate and as he did he dropped Franklin. Poor sweet little Franklin laid there in the straw on his back with his little wings out to his sides and his head tipped in an I am no longer alive angle. I was just kneeling down to pick up his lifeless little body when Franklin must have realised that he was not dead and he sprang to his feet and took off at a full run and instead of heading into the safety of the coop he ran right out the run gate in the same direction that the hawk had just gone.

Another hawk attack

The Hawk

I could not believe what I was seeing, Franklin had gone from dead to running around the yard in no particular direction squawking at the top of his lungs, I took off on in hot pursuit with the intension of getting Franklin back to the safety of the coop and at about the same time our Basset hound Ranger showed up to see what all the commotion was about.  It didn’t take Ranger long to figure out that I was trying to track the crazy little black thing and he joined in on the chase. Franklin had now made it to the safety of the little spruce trees behind the coop and I had no chance of catching him, there was no way I could get him out of there and there was no way I was going to leave him behind. Ranger was now nose to the ground and he seemed to be tracking Franklin. Now it important to know that Ranger is not a truly trained hunting dog but he was the only help I had so I was hoping that it would work. I kept telling Ranger “go find him boy,” and it was actually looking like he knew what he was doing. He picked up Franklin’s trail and went into the under brush after him. Poor Franklin could his day be any worse first he was attacked by a hawk and now he had to dog after him. I positioned myself just on the edge of the trees with the intension of grabbing him when he came out. It was easy to tell where he was by his squawking and when it got louder I got ready. He came shooting out of the trees and I made my move to grab him. As he was about to run past me I reached down and grabbed the only thing I could and I didn’t come up empty-handed, nope my hand was now full of Franklin’ tail feathers. I would say that he was now sounded like what I can only guess a hairy man sounds like at a waxing salon as the wax strips are ripped off. I dropped the feathers and took off after him again, he’s a fast little sucker! He was now hauling butt for the safety of the cover of the horse trailer which he quickly ducked under. It was then that I lost sight of him and Ranger came out of the spruce trees and over to me after stopping to sniff the pile of tail feathers on the ground with a look on his face like I did my job why didn’t you do yours?

Together we headed across the yard and over to the horse trailer I got down on my hands and knees to see where he was as Ranger nose to the ground headed for the hay shed. There was absolutely no sign of him under the trailer but the hay shed was right behind it so it was possible that he had made it to there as he seemed to have slipped into a silent mode of survival. Ranger was fairly adamant that was where he was, hoping that this drama was all behind us and thinking that I would find Franklin hiding in the corner I made my way over to the hay shed. I have to say that when I got there I figured that Ranger and I were tracking two completely different things. There was no sign of Franklin at all, he wasn’t hiding in a corner or on any of the bales so I thought he must be under the trailer and I just hadn’t seen him and was just turning to go when Ranger let out a bark. Now this is where Ranger earned his hero biscuit that day. He kept poking something in a small crack with his nose and looking up at me with his tail wagging like isn’t this what you were looking for expression on his face. On closer inspection he was right, there in a little crack was Franklin in a I can’t see you, you can’t see me pose, head down butt up.

After everything that he had been through I wasn’t about to let him get away so when I bent down to grab him I made sure that I had a firm hold on him and pulled him gently out of his hiding place. He complained loudly at first but then I think he knew that he was safe and that his bad day was over so he tucked his beak into my arm and almost seemed to relax. I checked him over as best I could and then I put him back in the coop with his girls, he ran out of my arms and straight into the corner where he gave me the stink eye and I seriously think that the thing he was most upset about was his lack of tail feathers.

Franklin ruling the coop

Franklin ruling the roost

A week has passed since Franklin’s Bad Day but he doesn’t seem to fazed by it although he is still giving me the stink eye, I guess he’s still mad about the whole tail feather thing. None of the flock asks to come out of the run anymore and plans are in the works to build a huge enclosed run for them in the spring, as much as I love having them to roam free I am worried that the hawk won’t forget where an easy meal is. Ranger is back to doing what he does best, holding down the couch, the fame from being a hero hasn’t really gone to his head. As for me I guess I am sharing this story with, well the world, but I have to say I am so glad that we live in the country and that there were no witnesses to the whole thing.

If you would like to stay up to date with Franklin, Plum and the rest of the flock like Andy’s Chicken Scratch on Facebook

Have a beautiful day!

Ranger the Hero

Ranger the Hero

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