It's happening all the time all over the country - good farm land being swallowed up by urban sprawl and paved over for strip malls, parking lots and housing developments. It's a terrible tragedy and, would you believe it? It's actually happened right here, in my own back yard.
The chicken coop, which started out as a guinea coop until all the guineas got eaten by coyotes, which then became a greenhouse that I didn't have time to use, which then turned into a chicken coop....is now a parking garage.
There are only two chickens left now. The Black Australorp, the one I called the Godmother, decided that she absolutely had to raise some babies and got all broody. There were two really big problems with this plan though: first, there is no rooster here so none of the eggs are fertile. Second, and an even larger obstacle than immaculate conception, is the fact that the hen was setting on an empty nest. No eggs at all. Totally, completely empty.
I tried to dissuade the Godmother from her futile endeavors, but she was having none of it. I kept shooing her off the nest and leaving obstacles in her place, such as a five gallon bucket. She moved the bucket and went back to incubating invisible eggs.
And then - a miracle, the stork arrived!
Farm Buddy had ordered some baby chicks and it is always better for babies to have a mother so the Godmother went over to her farm to raise them. This was accomplished by my hastily cramming the hen in a box and taking her over to Farm Buddy's where she was ensconced in a quiet stall. That night, Farm Buddy sneaked in well after dark and stuffed all the babies under the Godmother's wings where they would be nice and warm.
In the morning - viola!
The Godmother wakes up to find that all of her immaculately conceived, imaginary eggs have "hatched" into a brood of fluffy chicks. The Godmother is now a mom thanks to a delivery from the stork by way of the US postal service.
As for the other missing hen, one of the speckled wyandottes.....well, she met with a more tragic fate. Somebody ate her. It might have been Lucy, the stray dog, or possibly a fox.
I can't say as I begrudge a starving dog a chicken dinner and I can't blame a fox for being a fox. While I am not happy about the loss of a hen, I confess that my sympathies often lie with the predators. Everyone likes to eat chicken after all, right? I certainly do.
So, that leaves just the two hens, Thug One and the Red-Headed-Step-Child (and just in case anyone thinks I am maligning red-heads, you should know that I am one and I have had to deal with a great deal of maligning throughout my life because of it).
Thug One and the RHSC have shunned the chicken coop ever since the night of the murder and have moved into the hay shed, which left the coop vacant. Real Estate dose not stay vacant around her for long and a developer has already swooped in and converted the guinea coop/greenhouse/chicken coop into a parking garage for the sports car. It's a perfect fit.