Some of you may have seen my post already about adopting a mother with her four chicks. I have her in the portable pen during the day set in the landscaping where she can dirt bathe and dig to her heart's content. She is on the partially secluded side of my deck and I've placed my swing about 10 feet in front of her facing away from the backyard so I could watch her with her babies. To my left is the house and to the right are tall shrubs sandwiched by a tall rhodendron and trumpet vine climbing high over lattice work. All the sudden Bella, the blue hen, started freaking out and flew to the back corner of the pen. I looked up to my tight in time to see a freaking hawk swooping up over the trumpet vine. She continued to freak out maybe 15 minutes. I tried to calm her down and then looked for all four babies. They got separated so that 2 were hunkered down next to the opposite edge and then I saw a pile of fluff with legs sticking out straight where Bella had been fluttering. They appeared to be dead. They never even moved a muscle when Bella moved toward the other end. I got up the courage to go and see and when I moved the corner of the pen they jumped back up on their feet. Were they playing dead? I was sick to my stomach from fear and the tears flowed. I went to the front of the pen and Bella brought her babies there. We just looked at each other, me talking softly and crying, her making a sort of purring sound. I mimicked her vocal sound and we seemed to be communicating. But then I wondered if she was purring to calm herself and the babies down, or was she growling? She has made that sound now for 45 minutes and as expected she is on high alert. Thank heaven I kept her in the pen rather than letting her take the babies out into the grass. I'm so scared now that I don't think I can ever let her free range even while I'm right there with her. I was sitting right here when the hawk swooped in.
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6/3/16 at 12:56pm