A farm is a busy place. No matter the size of acreage, or livestock. And sometimes its easy for the small things to get overlooked or put off until later. Around my farm, I am notoriously known for saying “I’ll get it later”. Apparently I say this a lot. When it comes to prioritizing what needs to be get done, I hit the big, important things hard, and leave some of the smaller details to catch later. I try to prioritize as best as one can living on a farm and fighting time and animals and dead lines.
Skully is a silly little bantam hen . We bought her, and about 30 others at our local farm . One summer afternoon I found her in the coop beneath the other rapidly growing chickens. She was literally being pecked to death by her coop mates. I went in and picked her up. Her head was completely picked clean. There were no feathers, no skin, all you could see was her skull. Her whole head was just bone. It was a miserable hot August day and with her skull exposed, the minute I sat her down on the ground she ran behind me and stood in the shadows of my legs. Everywhere I walked for the next half hour she tried to follow . I honestly did not think she would survive with her entire skull open and nothing to cover it. Needless to say…she remained in the barn for most the summer of her own choosing. (here she is healed, her feathers never returned).
Then this past February…I went out to do chores, and after completing them for some odd reason I decided to do a bit of house cleaning. I was moving old feed bags, collecting them to burn, and organizing and suddenly out of the corner of my eye..i saw something hanging from the front axle of my Oliver tractor. Upon closer look it was a chicken.
Here’s where it becomes hard to believe. I walked over to get a closer look and IF I HADNT KNOWN BETTER…I would swear someone came into my barn and did this. Poor Skully had gotten into to string somewhere, and she had it all twisted around her legs, with probably about a four inches of twine in between both her feet. She must have been able to jump from the ground and was going to perch on the front tire of the tractor. Whether she fell asleep or got startled I am not sure, but she must have lost her balance and literally hung herself upside down with that string perfectly over the tie rod. She was motionless. I gasped and pulled her up. She wasn’t moving. The whites of her eyes were all red. There is no telling how long she had hung upside down. I scurried around and found a utility knife, cut the string which was a long endeavor and I held her close to my coat for a long time. About 25 minutes she started holding her own head up but it would fall back down every time she tried to keep it up. Another few minutes she was holding her head finally but couldn’t walk…..more time passed. I finally set her up on a barrel away from everything and other chickens walking about the barnyard and gave her some feed to nibble on and just hoped for the best.
Two hours later this what I found. She was still sitting on the barrel, and she was eating. Mind you she is not a pretty bird, but her story of survival is sweet and down right encouraging.
About a month later, …..much to my delight she came walking out of the sheep barn with two little black chicks following close behind her. She followed me until I tossed a hand full of feed in front of her. Apparently she has found safety in dwelling with the sheep. She eats out of their dish and drinks from their water .
This is a crazy little farm story…about a silly little black bantam hen, but happenings like this that keep my heart and mind alert to all the blessing that are always around me. Even the smallest details need attention in a fast paced busy world.
UPDATE 2015 (July)
Skully has survived and thrived the winter. This year she has raised two sets of baby chicks so far. She is still a very appreciative bird and doesn’t fear me at all, she is a very protective mama hen and each day I count her chicks to be sure she hasn’t lost any. I STILL KNOW and UNDERSTAND that a goofy chicken is pretty insignificant in a world gone mad, but it still delights me that she has fought such a gallant fight , beat the odds and still here.
YET…UPDATE MARCH 2016
Skully made it through another long winter. We do not house these chickens. They are free to roam and roost in the barns. For the last two nights when I do chores I hear a lot of clucking and I turn around to see Skully. She is waiting for me to shell some ear corn and toss it on the ground for her. She is really a charmed Chicken for sure. She is sitting on a nest already. I believe, she truly knows me because she never runs from me and talks back when I talk to her. Her skull is still bald from when I first saved her but she has sure soldiered on in the barnyard.