Air Raid today, 1 casualty, wounded in action.
It was late morning, I had just finished my lunch when I heard that panic squawk. Loud, and almost from the front yard. I jumped up and headed toward the backdoor. As I went through the kitchen, I saw Strawberry and Zafira in a crouching run heading across the lawn for the trash can area. I was out the door, and across the backyard, around to the side of the house they had appeared from.
As I rounded the corner, a grayish medium sized hawk was just taking flight to escape. Then I saw a Buff Orpington where the hawk had been. The hen was on the ground partially against the wall, limp, bloody, eyes closed.
My first thought was to count heads to determine where the other hens were. I knew two of the Barred Rocks were in the trash can area. The rest of the Buffs were shoved behind the chimney, as it turned out, stacked on top of Ethel. She was squeezing through a very small space between the fence and the house into the front yard. They were dog-piled on top of Ethel, B.B. was standing on Ethel’s back. I got them off of Ethel, and unwedged her from that tiny space.
I turned my attention to the smashed Buff, I knew now it was Buffy. But she was only knocked out, stunned and on her feet, although unsteady and disoriented, bloody but alive. My next thought was getting her away from the other hens, in case they noticed the blood and went into a double-points kill frenzy. I picked up Buffy and carried her over to the garage and had to set her down next to the door as I worked the combination lock. She was still out of it, and just stood there like some strange ornamental chicken. I picked her up again and set her inside the garage for safe keeping.
I returned to the side yard, picked up Ethel and herded the rest of them them over to the trash can area, and into their “Air Raid Shelter.” They were under cover and safe now.
What to do with Buffy? I couldn’t leave her out there, I needed to assess and treat her wounds. I left her standing in the garage while I carried the dog crate into the house. Now, where to put the crate? No, not in the mudroom, it blocks all traffic. No, not in the kitchen, same thing. Livingroom? That was the only answer, so that is where it went.
Finally I could go and pickup Buffy, who was standing in the same spot in the garage, carry her in the house, put her in the dog crate and think of the next step. First Aid supplies, that’s it! At first glance nothing seemed life threatening, but I couldn’t hold her, prod, poke and move her pinfeathers to complete the assessment and treat her wounds by myself, I needed more hands. It would have to wait until Crystal came home.
There they are, three punctures from the hawk’s claws. One on her leg where the feathers begin, the second on the back of her knee and the third on her tail area. I held her while Crystal did the prodding, poking and cleaning of her wounds. In addition she was sore on her opposite side, which must have been bashed against the house when the hawk hit her. She was adamant about not being touched on that side.
She was pretty freaked out from the attack. She was fitful and startled easily and did not sleep for the first night. The next day, sitting in the dog crate around midday she finally chicken-bowled and tried to sleep. She awoke with a cry every few minutes. Each time she awoke with a start, she looked to see if she could see me, if so, she would go back to sleep. If not she would make a bit of noise to see where I was. Weird, yes, but I supposed that stress and fear can get to a hen too.
The second night she slept and that day she started to eat and act like herself: Princessy. She was back out in the coop with the girls in the evening. She took a bit of pecking from them for the next few days.