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This is Jenny. She went so hard broody one summer that I bought some fertilized eggs for her to sit on.

It takes 21 days to incubate eggs and, being an inexperienced chicken hatcher, it was 21 days before I figured out they were all duds. Three weeks of staring at the chicken cam waiting for something to happen. Which occasionally it did (like here, where Jenny entertained a mouse).

Mostly it was just a hen sighing and staring into the distance.

I felt so bad for her (and myself) I asked a chicken keeping buddy to sell me some eggs that were almost ready to hatch. I put them under Jenny and hatch they did. This is where Millie, Sam and Mo came from.

Baby chicks with a mother hen are hilarious. They move around up inside the down next to her body and you’ll see a little head poke out from just about anywhere. It’s surreal.

As they get older, they continue to sleep under her wings until eventually she’s sleeping stretched out on a giant platform of small chickens. Jenny put up with it well beyond the point she should have kicked them out. She wasn’t getting any decent sleep, so one night I felt bad for her and put her in the old pen with her buddy Colette.

Late that night, there was a terrific squawking and we ran out to find a panicky fox trapped inside the old run. I later worked out he’d knocked the bottom out of the nest box with his head (who knew they weren’t screwed on?), got into the run and couldn’t get out again.

What do? I didn’t have a gun, I couldn’t really beat him to death with a hoe and I was worried about any chickens that might still be inside. Soooo, I let him out.

There was nothing whatever left of Jenny. Not a feather. Not a toenail. Not an unpleasant stain. I honestly can’t understand how that could possibly be, but it was.

Colette was fine. Shook up, so I brought her inside for the night, but she lived another year or more.


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: May 20, 2020, 9:49 pm

I don’t suppose you’d consider the chance she opened a portal to a safer place huh?

You know, like an Andre Norton chicken would have done, transported her to, uh, Chicken World.

Stoaty, you really need to do some happy ending stories, but let me guess there ARE no happy endings stories with chickens.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: May 21, 2020, 2:21 am

I know this is old ground, but it makes me crazy that you can’t protect your flock with a gun.

Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: May 21, 2020, 2:56 am

I’d be inclined to think that Jenny escaped the run as the fox was getting in, and in a panic just kept going, to meet her fate somewhere beyond your observation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fox dine at the site of a kill, they always carry it off somewhere else first.

The interdimensional portal kinda makes sense too though.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: May 21, 2020, 3:47 pm

Just wait till Jenny re-appears wearing high tech chicken armor, with a string of fox tails attached to the belt, and evacuates you and Uncle B from the property before the Vogon Constructor Fleet vaporizes England.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 21, 2020, 7:23 pm

All four of the chickens who vanished, vanished utterly. Not a feather, not a toenail. This is the only one I know a fox was involved.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: May 21, 2020, 10:27 pm

Mme. Ermine, Regarding the utterly vanishing birds, have you ever been to the Yucatan Peninsula? Could you have been less than properly respectful of the ancient gods at Chicken Itza?

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