At the farm a few weeks ago, J was looking to expand his flock of chickens and in preparation, managed to score a free rooster on Craigslist. After promising that he wasn't just planning on eating it, he arranged to have it dropped off, sight unseen and relatively few questions asked. I had the responsibility of receiving it, and when he arrived, I knew right away that we were going to have problems. The new rooster was a Silkie, a half-sized bird who comes with a face full of vision-obscuring feathers and a remarkable lack of talent for flying. These are both unfortunate traits for a free-roaming rooster on farm plagued by foxes and hawks.
To make matters worse, he was kind of a pacifist. Every time I saw him over the next few days, he was doing a little dance for one of the much larger hens (and the dance was adorable), which was invariably cut short when the big Brahma rooster who ruled to roost launched at him loudly. Sadly, I only saw him over the next few days. On his third night with us, he managed to not find his way into the coop and, despite a concerted effort to find him as dusk fell, disappeared into the night. I like to think that he left to dance his way home, but he probably got et by the fox. Poor Morrissey, we hardly knew you.
flash forward. I got home this past week, and V and I were tagged by a neighbor on Saturday as the "chicken experts" (read "only people around with any experience with chickens") because there was a stray that was wandering around the neighborhood. At first, it was to make sure it wasn't one of ours, escaped and run amok in a WWII Navy veteran's garage. Then, it was to catch her.
She was a Silkie.
I had started this post thinking that I don't have the best luck with Silkies. At first, we chased the bird around, met a bunch of neighbors who were curious why we were poking around their yards or who wanted to offer help, and then utterly lost her in the brush between ours and the yard next door. We were sad because she was gone, and I was convinced that I had just witnessed another wee bird walking off into the night. I briefly gave up hope, but then I decided to go back outside. She was there, and with just a little coaxing she came into our back yard.
She hasn't quite been accepted into the flock yet, she still hasn't fully wrapped her tiny head around the coop as home, and still runs away when we open the door. That said, she laid an egg today in the right place. It made me extraordinarily happy.
Finding that half of my strawberries were fuzzy much less so, but that's a whole other story.