Strange happenings in the barnyard this morning...
Marilyn is my lovely partridge cochin. She has 3, 3-week-old chicks. Apple is my completely useless buff orpington - she keeps getting egg-bound, and only lays an egg every 2 weeks or so. She's never been broody. She really never does anything but eat and poop.
I went up to the coop this morning, and noticed that I didn't hear the usual peeping and activity from Marilyn and her chicks. So I went looking for Marilyn and the peeps. nothing. Nowhere. Couldn't hear them either. Looked and looked. I saw Apple in the chick-condo. I assumed she liked the nest and was trying to lay an egg. Kept looking. Found Marilyn huddled in the far back most corner under the coop. I reached in there and felt under her, and not a single chick. Couldn't hear or see a peep anywhere.
So then I lifted Apple, and found 1 chick under her, but couldn't find the other 2. Once I gave the chick back to Marilyn, Marilyn started clucking, and then the other 2 came out of hiding from under some dense shrubs. The reunited family is now safe in their condo, but they seem shocked. no one is coming out from the back corner.
Since Marilyn and the peeps were all hiding and being absolutely still and quiet, I assume that something attacked them: cat, dog, hawk. But what I can't figure out is why Apple was sitting on a chick? For a moment I thought that Apple had tried to steal the chicks, but there's no way Marilyn would have backed down from that battle. She's twice Apple's size. So something attacked them. Was Apple trying to rescue the chick? Apple isn't broody. I thought even a broody hen won't sit on chicks unless she's been setting for a few weeks. And most hens will kill a chick that's all alone and isn't theirs.
When I got up and looked out the window this morning, I saw Apple literally flying out of the pen area and across the back lawn. I was thinking Apple must be feeling good. I think something attacked up there. But why would Apple have gone back to sit on a chick that wasn't hers?