My little hen, she wasn't flashy or showy, just a little grey bantam. But she could give lessons on motherhood to the best of us. When I first let her and her chicks out into the big bad world full of danger, I fussed and watched over her. I was going to say like a hawk but hawks were one of those big bad dangers that we had to be on the look out for. I grew accustomed to her different "clucks" and knew when to rush out to help her keep her chicks safe.
One day I heard her distress and rushed out and there was a hawk about a foot over her head, talons spread, about to attack her and she was standing there, out in the open, facing the enemy, fluffing herself out to make herself look a lot bigger, making threatening noises, but at the same time also obviously telling her chicks to stay where they were under the tree. Not one of those chicks moved.
As the chicks grew older I let the little family out when I left for work, trusting her to keep them safe.
The little chicks grew and she kept them safe.
I took this photo just last week, having a chuckle to myself that the chair had been left there for me to sit on and watch them, and noticing that they were all nearly as big as her. I liked to just sit there and watch how she raised them and taught them. She was forever alert, always watching out for dangers, clucking to them at the first hint of a dog or a cat - or a hawk. I loved how the chicks obeyed her with hesitation.
Today was one of those occasions. I suspect she saw the danger and sent the chicks scurrying to safety and faced the danger head on. There were a lot of feathers, she put up quite a fight but her little body was savaged, I suspect by a dog.
I hope the chicks will survive without her. I don't know if they will even miss her. But I will.