Today when I arrived home from work, I had only two chickens in the yard in lieu of our three. I panicked and like a mother, immediately my mind went to The Bad Place: “Did a raccoon get her? Did she hop the fence into the neighbor’s yard with the huge black dogs? Is she dead somewhere?”
I wandered the yard after checking the coop. No chicken, only one blue egg. We hadn’t a brown egg in weeks, so the sole egg was not a surprise. I asked the other neighbors’ kids if they had seen our bird. The kids gamely pointed out the other two hens pecking about the yard, “There’s one!” Not Madeleine, the missing one.
Then, I remembered the other day she had run up the hill to underneath the shed’s stoop. Behind a forgotten can, she had crouched. I had done a cursory look under there, but when I couldn’t find her anywhere else I looked again. And there was the merest silhouette of her beak and crown. I grabbed a long piece of plywood and poked it back to scare her out.
BAAAAKKKK BAK BAK BAK ------- BOCK! BOCK! BOCK! BAAAAAAAAAAAAK BAK BAK BOOOCK!
She hollered and crowed for a good fifteen minutes after emerging from her nesting spot. And what a nesting spot at that – I uncovered 7 eggs in her little nest under that stoop.