These pics started out as part of my photojournalism of the latest peep retrieval. The girls rushed out of the haystack last night during chores insisting they heard more peeping. Unfortunately this time it was from the second of the last two broody hens who has been perched on top of Old Smoky about a foot from the ceiling. Not that the ceiling was that high, but it was precarious on the top of the hay bales and she has been regularly laying eggs that roll off the stacks like a bad cartoon assembly line scene. This time it was the chick who fell off.... between the hay bales and the wall. She survived and was vocally complaining her fate. So was the Ranch Foreman (aka Dad) when he got the word. ; o
We assessed the situation and it was a logistical nightmare. Moving her wasn't a great option since broody hens are NASTY. She was sitting right at the edge of one bale so moving the bales next to her meant it was likely that some eggs were going to fall. Since we couldn't how many of those eggs had chicks in them it was really creepy to consider an egg falling and opening. Ewwwwww! So we had called in Dad. Doesn't he look thrilled?
Dad decided to move the adjoining bales and catch the eggs if need be. The hen wouldn't budge so we stuck the falling eggs under the other hen, which was likely wrong on some chicken level but hey, it's warm down there. The peeping got louder so we kept moving bales until she was sighted. The girls grabbed her and took her in to the brooder. She warmed up but was clearly a new hatchling, tinier than any we have had so far. She seemed to be doing fine so we went to eat dinner finally.
Later, Moira came and whispered to me, "Mom, you better go get that chick. I think she is dead." Now, Moira is more matter of fact about farm things. And not as fond of chickens as her sister. We all sorta went : / at the prospect of breaking it to Alannah. She took it better than expected but she is tenderhearted and these things hurt. A lot. So please send a happy thought her way! At least she has a hero of a dad who changed from suit and tie to gloves and boots and chucked hay bales for half an hr to retrieve a dying peep. I hope in the end that is part she remembers most.