A few months ago, I blogged about the mysterious disappearance of my daughter Samantha’s pet chicken, Phyllis, leaving her slightly demented, years-long fellow chicken, Isabelle, wandering around hopeless and confused. Isabelle, a bantam silky, couldn’t get “out of the rain” without Phyllis to prod her into the coop. The weather got cold, and Isabelle was not doing well. My daughter started bringing her in at night to keep her warm, first in a cardboard box and then in a wire kennel. I even made a small quilt with a chicken print to put over the kennel at night.
Just recently, a local red-tailed hawk (which I admit under other circumstances we would have been thrilled to see nesting in the neighborhood), swooped down and attacked Isabelle. Shrieking Isabelle alarmed Maggie, our Great Dane, and ultimately Samantha, who waving her arms and shouting as ferociously as she could, scared the hawk away. Mystery solved. Phyllis had been kidnapped, and I shudder to think what else, by this magnificent bird.
Isabelle now has a roofed-over playpen with an awning for shade that she can play in while outside. At night, she sleeps in the house with the dogs, all three in their respective kennels, on the summer porch. Samantha swears that by spring she will be back outside in her coop for the night, but I don’t believe that for a minute. She is now a resident.
Nature has such an interesting food chain: hawk predator—chicken prey. Unless, of course, the chicken is our demented Isabelle and her caregiver is my daughter, Samantha.