Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Life and Death...We all have to eat.
So the Friday before Easter our last remaining hen hatched out 6 new chicks. One of the chicks died shortly after hatching which is quite common but the remaining 5 are plugging along. I put them in the pasture shelter in the front yard and momma takes them all under her wings at night and keeps them warm. They're very cute and a lot of fun to watch. The little ones learn a lot from watching mom. She'll find bugs for them and crunch the bug so it can't get away and drop it in front of them. They compete totally and run around with food in their beaks trying to keep it away from their siblings until they can eat it.
Well, the only problem with being a cute little chick is that a lot of things would like to eat you too. Donielle came home today to find the turkeys going nuts and momma hen squawking like crazy. She went over to find a medium-sized black rat snake had taken one of the chicks. Black snakes are constrictors who normally eat mice, birds, and bird eggs. A tiny little chick is right on the menu. The snake had already suffocated the chick so Donielle removed the snake with the chick still in its coils and took it into the woods to finish its meal. I've heard of people taking mice and rabbits away from snakes to 'punish' them. That's ridiculous. Snakes consume many, many mice that would otherwise get into everything we hold dear. Mice are cute in someone else's house but not in one's own. I'd much rather have the snake. Anyway...this photo shows the snake just finishing up. The 'bulge' is quite prominent. I'll miss the little chick but we all have to eat. Snake 1 Chick 0