Last night I went out to feed Ollie (yeah, the stray cat…we named him “Oliver Twist” because of how much he loves food, glorious food..) And I’m not sure I should have named him – yet – because then you claim him – and he’s not really ours. but I digress…. The thing is, I heard an owl hooting up in a tree somewhere in the yard. My first thought was “do owls eat cats?” but Ollie didn’t seem worried, so I put it out of my head. I did think about the chickens I’m thinking about getting… and how I’d better build them a coop to sleep in.
The reason is the hens I lost back when I was a kid. We had about half-a-dozen laying hens, who ranged free in our yard and laid the most amazing tasting eggs. At night they roosted in the pine trees. Then came a morning when one of our hens was missing. Then a couple days later another hen went missing, then another. Not only was I sad and angry but I was really irritated and confused – what the heck was happening to them?? That night, I went and sat underneath the trees and watched the hens roosting there. All was calm…then stealthily and silently, an owl swooped down and landed on the same branch as my hens, between them and the trunk of the tree. For whatever reason, I didn’t connect the owl with my hens’ disapearance… I just though “ooh, cool, an owl!”
Now, hens, they sleep fairly deep. You can gently move them around without waking them… at least that’s how my hens were. So that sneaky old owl… he sat on the branch, then slowly moved over an inch or so. All the hens scootched a bit toward the end of the branch. Once they settled, that owl moved another inch or so… and so did all the hens. I still had no idea what was going on… I guess I just thought he couldn’t get comfortable. Or wanted to be near the hens. I guess I’m not real bright! Because this kept going on for awhile until the last hen was at the very end of the branch… yet still she moved over when the owl ‘shoved’ them… and as my poor henny fell out of the pine tree, that sneaky old owl swooped down, snatched her mid-air, and flew away with her!!! It was horrible, and I had just set there and watched it happen!!
Well, I finally knew where all my hens had gone. That day dad and I built a cozy little coop and we didn’t feel that owl any longer. Guess I better get busy building if I want to have hens now that stay safe out in my yard!