This past weekend there was quite a bit of excitement around the chickens.
First, Selma literally "flew the coop" on Sunday morning. I'm not sure how long she was outside the yard since I let them out of their coop and run at around 7 AM and then went back to bed for a couple hours. As I was standing at the kitchen sink filling the tea kettle, I happened to look out the window and see Selma busily standing on the alley side of the fence scratching and pecking. It was a bit of a dance trying to catch her, but I did it then promptly reported to Mark that I would need his help clipping wings before he headed out for a bike ride.
We had ourselves nearly together and ready to trim wings about 30 minutes later when we nearly lost Selma for the second time that morning. I was standing in the driveway with my back to the yard where the chickens are wandering when I heard a strange thunk from their general area. I turned to see what made such an odd noise only to see little Selma crouching low to the ground near the intersection of the fencing and frozen in place. Maisy and Betty were several feet away also being very still. There was some other movement that drew my eye upwards and that's when I saw the hawk. It was winging its way upwards, around the branches of the maple that overhangs the driveway, over the upper porch and onwards to wherever it was bound.
Now, I know there are raptors in Chicago. And I've heard there are Cooper's Hawks active in Chicago, too. But this is the first time I've seen any sort of raptor in my neighborhood. This has made me pretty nervous, I must say. I think that the way the yard is laid out, with all of the raised beds and hoop covers, and tall fence on 3 sides, etc. makes it quite challenging for a hawk to swoop in and grab a chicken, but I'm not sure. I can't put bird netting over the entire yard, nor can I keep the chickens confined to their Eglu run all day every day. They've really been enjoying having the run of the yard every day, and I've noticed that I don't get so many soft eggs when they can roam. I think it's best for their "mental health," let's just hope it isn't bad for their physical health now that the hawks know there are tasty chickens roaming my yard.
We did get down to business after the excitement and clipped the primary flight feathers on one of Selma's wings and one of Betty's wings. As if they were trying to prove that the exercise was pointless, later that day both Selma and Betty managed to flap their way up to the top of the fence running along the driveway (which is just under 4 feet tall) and sit up there mocking me. I had to pull out all of the various trellises I've collected over the years and line them up along the inside of the fence. That adds at least a foot of height and hopefully will keep the naughty chooks in their yard.
It was a relatively warm and sunny day on Sunday so I gave their Eglu a thorough cleaning, as well as watering all the planting beds. I couldn't resist taking a short video of the Maisy and Selma taking a dust bath in one of the unused beds.