Shortly after 6 pm I went out to close up the barn, like I do every night when the sun goes down. It is my time to reflect on the day that is over, to make sure the goats and chickens are locked up safe for the night, and to bring in the water buckets to thaw out until morning.
Chickens can’t see very well in the dark, so when the sun starts to set, and dusk is upon us, all of our gals make their way back to their coop and set up on their roost for the night. I usually do a quick check of the coop, do a head count, and lock up for the night.
On this night, as I went about my routine, I realized that there was only 5 chickens sitting on the roost cooing at me. I did a quick check of the nesting boxes, and under the poop board. No other chickens were in the coop. Panic began to strike.
Frantically I ran over to the goat side, where I found Loretta and Mabel huddled together on the goat bench. They seemed very confused and clearly frightened. Why they didn’t go to their roost I have no idea. Relief only lasted a minute when I realized that one hen was still missing. I ran back over to the chicken side thinking maybe I had miscounted, or maybe she was in the coop on the floor somewhere and I had missed her. But she was not there.
I ran back to the goat side and did a thorough check. She was not in the hay feeder. She was not in the front corner. I got down on my knees and looked under the goat bench, but she wasn’t there either.
One of my hens was gone. It was a day I had feared would return. Somehow when I was only a stones throw away in the warmth of my home, one of my hens had been stolen away from me. I sat there for a minute, on my knees in the goat bedding, with my hands on the bench.
Jackson, my big wethered goat, had been laying on the bench in the back corner of the barn. He must have sensed my concern and panic, so he got up and walked over to see me. He brought his head down so that our faces were even.
And that’s when I noticed it. There, sound asleep on his back, was my missing hen. My Lou.
Thank you Lord for keeping her safe!
I carried Mabel and Loretta back to the coop and put them up on the roost with their sisters. Jackson followed me out of the barn, with Lou riding along. I put her up on the roost also, and Jackson went back into the goat side of the barn for the night.
Side Note: I’m pretty sure I got another grey hair after that.