Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Conversations At Our House

This is Vanilli.  She is our oldest and favorite bird, and we think her head looks like an eagle, so we call her our American Bald Chicken.  We bought her at the flea market years ago, and we say that is why she is such a tough bird.  She is street smart and has survived multiple predator attacks over the years.  She is also our stand-in rooster, crowing in the early years before we had roosters.

She is a fabulous mother, hatching out a clutch for us each year.  She teaches her chicks how to forage and is very protective.

So my husband came in this morning and asked, "How many birds do we have?"

"We have 15 chickens and 4 ducks." 

"Well, I counted 15 chickens, but it looks like a bird was attacked.  There are chicken feathers all over the ground.  They look like Vanilli's, but I just saw her."

I race out to the animal yard and start counting birds.  1,2, 3....15.  1,2,3.....15.  1,2,3......15.

"We have all of the birds, and she was in the coop last night when I put everyone up, so show me what you're talking about."

It's hard to capture it in a photo, but it definitely looks like a crime scene.

A quick scan of Vanilli shows she is missing some feathers.  So, like any good blogger, I said, "While I go get the camera, catch Vanilli and let's make sure she isn't hurt."

A few minutes later, I came back out and asked, "Did you catch her?"

"I can't.  She's running around the yard with a mouse in her beak, and everyone is chasing her."

"Okay, let's keep the other chickens away from her so she will calm down and we can catch her.  Plus, she can enjoy her mouse if no one is chasing her.  I have a feeling she's earned it."

So, we get her isolated in a protected corner and stand guard while she enjoys her breakfast.  Nate picks her up at one point so we can examine her, but she was not letting that mouse go.  So it came along for the ride.   

And, here she is swallowing it down, like a noodle.  If you click on the photo, you can see the end of it hanging out of her beak.

Thankfully, she's okay, and her feathers will grow back.  I assume something attacked her at dusk last night but only managed to grab feathers.  Dusk seems to be the prime time for attacks at our place.  The night predators are heading out for the evening, and the birds are putting themselves up.  Once they are locked in the coop, they are safe.  

Oh, the things we do for our animals and the conversations we have!  All's well that ends well though.

Happy homesteading, 



  1. I love this post! And she's a beautiful bird, and a fighter!

  2. I love tough chickens! Especially rodent-catching ones. I'm glad it was just a matter of feathers lost - let's hope her 8 remaining lives keep her going for years.

    1. She is my toughest chicken by far. The others are pansies in comparison. Because of all her run-ins with predators over the years, she may be on the short end of her 9 lives. Plus, she's a really old bird. I'm going to miss her when her time comes.

  3. What a story! So glad she's okay and what a great mouser. So glad you're a good blogger, LOL. A great post for us all.

    1. I think mice are her favorite critter to eat. If I find a nest I always call her over and she makes short work of them.