Bessie Flew the Coop!!!

Bessie, Keeping Her Preferred Company

Bessie, Keeping Her Preferred Company, the Horses

As she raced by me and squeezed out the gate like greased lightning, I distinctly heard Bessie say: “I’m done! I’m outta here!”

This was yesterday morning. I was entering the chicken coop. And she was exiting it — and not to be deterred!

It took me a few minutes to realize what had just happened and to register what she had just told me and what it meant. Then I just had to chuckle to myself because Bessie has always had such a knack for self-realization and manifesting her dreams. And she had just done it again.

You may recall from earlier blogs that Bessie is 9 years old, an age few of her feathered friends reach. She has survived foxes and coons in Texas, coyotes and hawks in New Mexico, and several broods of wild crazy babies — the latest being made up of 10 chicks I brought her on April 1st of this year (April Fool’s, Bessie!). Being the gracious maternal spirit she is, she welcomed them warmly and gathered them up under her fluffy self. She even quit moulting in order to deal with her new family.

But “Enough is enough!” she told me yesterday. (These babies are almost her size now, and quite demanding!)

In retrospect, I have noticed in just the past week or so that Bessie has been feeling very fussy with her family, very irritable. If one happens to be standing in a particular spot Bessie doesn’t approve of for instance, she just gives it hell and instantly banishes it to the outer yard. And Lord have mercy should one take a bite of bread she has her eye on! She’s just been in a really bad mood.

I guess Bessie needed a break, just like every mom does sometimes.

As soon as she was out the gate, Bessie heaved a chicken sigh of relief and pleasure and started clucking and eating bugs that one simply cannot find in an enclosed chicken yard. As soon as she had feasted on those a bit, however, she ran over to the barn to dive into her favorite-of-all-time snack: horse manure! She was in Seventh Heaven, chirping and rooting around under Copper’s feet while he ate, happily picking out invisible-to-the-naked-eye fly larvae from his recent poop.

“Ah, this is the life,” she muttered pleasurably.

In Texas my chickens were always at liberty (“free range” in nouvelle cuisine lingo) during the day, safe in their hen house at night. But in New Mexico that doesn’t work so well. There’s just something different about the predators here, even though they are fewer in number and type than we had back at the Texas ranch. Go figure.

So, after losing Bessie’s 3 remaining buddies last fall, all in one fell swoop, I decided it was time for my beloved Bessie to move “indoors.” We had been through way too much together for the past 9 years for her to become one more piece of coyote bait.

Bessie spent the winter all alone, under a heat lamp in a small abode with a small yard attached. True to form, she seemed quite contented until lo and behold one day she had a new, huge hen house and yard plus 10 new chicks to mother, and that was the icing on her cake. She was ecstatic!

Yesterday I allowed Bessie 24 hours of freedom, which she spent in and around the barn and hay room, her favorite place of all, before throwing a big white sheet over her this morning in order to return her to the safety of the hen house.

She resisted just a little, but kind of breathed a big sigh as I set her down amongst her brood. I think she was secretly relieved to be back with the family, and she seemed to be in a much better mood.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Cindy R. said,

    LoveLoveLove reading your blogs Leta! Yes, every mom needs a mini-vacation now and then! So cute!

    • 2

      Gosh thanks, Cindy! I’m so glad you enjoy it. And, knock wood, Bessie’s mini-vacation seems to have done her a world of good. She’s quite back to herself in amongst the wild, crazy teenagers she’s now trying to keep in line.


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