I have the first surviving poult of the year. She (okay, I don’t really know if the little thing is male or female, but she feels female to me) is thriving and lively despite the strangeness of her first hours. Those hours are strange because (1) I have no idea what nest produced her and (2) I wasn’t the first farm denizen to find her. All of that makes her continued survival fairly miraculous, and maybe a good omen.
She appeared at about 5:30 PM yesterday evening. I was prepping the coop in my usual evening ritual–changing the waterers, filling the food bowls, tossing sunflower seeds to the sitting hens–when I looked over and saw a hen out in the pasture poking at something. It wasn’t a serious poke, the sort they use when they’re picking up food. It was more of a curious poke, as in “what are you?” Then, all of a sudden, the hen turned and walked away.
Moosie, who’d been watching along with me although from the vantage of the chicken coop, was over there in a flash. He picked up something from that clump of horehound. I caught a brief glimpse from where I stood. It looked a bit like a piece of bread, which it could have been right there. That’s the general area where I dump the contents of the veggie trash bins from my kitchen renters. They sometimes put stale bread in the pails.
But there was something guilty about the little glance Moosie sent me as he started back toward the house. It set off my radar. “Moosie?” I called out.
Instantly, his shoulders dropped and his ears lowered. He slowed to almost creeping. The alarms were going off like crazy now, with plenty of flashing red lights to boot.
“Drop it!” I called, just in case.
Sure enough, he put his head down and gently spat out whatever it was he was carrying. Then he moved off by about a dozen yards and sat down, his whole body radiating guilt. He stared apologetically at me as I went to see what it was he’d dropped.
There she was, not a scratch on her, staring up at me as if to say, “What in the world just happened?”
I scooped up her and took her into the main turkey coop (the expensive side) and tucked her under the hen who’s presently sitting on some 40 eggs which should start opening tomorrow or the 28th. The hen welcomed the little one with that sweet peeping the mothers make, the one that sounds an awfully lot like the noises we human mothers make to our infants.
I returned this morning to find the baby chipper and interested in my finger. So, food and water has been left within reach. As of this picture-taking, mother and baby are doing very well. Now, to keep Moosie out of that coop!