I have a dilemma.  Since I retired I have had few dilemmas – no more the quandary of whether I should attend an important business meeting or pitch, vs a child’s sporting event/concert performance or family function.  But now I have a dilemma!

I mentioned in previous posts that we have 2 nimble chicken, Wanda and Randa, who easily fly over the paddock fence and that Randa had disappeared one evening but was there the next morning and we all celebrated with sunflower seeds.  But the next night she disappeared again and was not to be seen for the next 9 days.

We searched everywhere – there were no telltale feathers signifying a predator attack but even without the evidence I had concluded she probably had been done in.  And then yesterday (Monday) after a rain washed weekend, there she was outside the paddock, very bedraggled.  She greedily ate the sunflower seed and chicken feed I offered her.  I surmised that she had had a nest, that it had failed and that she had returned to the flock.  But a few hours later she was gone again.  What was going on?

I decided that she must still have a nest and that it was probably close by.  I began looking and there, not to far from where she had appeared on Monday morning, was Randa on a well concealed nest.

Randa on her nest in the bush
Randa on her nest in the bush

The dilemma is what to do.  I can leave her be and there is a likelihood some predator (fox, possum, dog etc.) will find her.  I can try capture her and relocate her and her eggs to a 2nd coop.  Or I can chase her off the eggs, destroy the eggs and she will likely return to the flock.  And if she remains broody I can provide the same treatment which worked successfully on Yellow Legs who is cured of her broodiness and is now a regular flock member.

Since I would like to wind down my chicken operations in the near future, the last option seems the most practical and perhaps the kindest since in following her natural impulse she has placed herself in dangers way and if she is not discovered now, then when the chicks hatch and chirp a predator may get to them all before I can relocate them.

Relocating her and the eggs to a coop seems the best compromise but I doubt she will allow herself to be caught and will take off and return to her nest when I have given up  and will be more stressed.

Leaving her be could be considered cruel and uncaring.  But I am leaving her alone for now.  I feel at times that though we may delight in having pets and chicken there is something a little unnatural going on.  After all, chicken were once forest birds which we have bred to produce an unnatural large number of eggs, which has stressed them and reduced their lifespan and deprived them of the most natural of events – producing offspring.  Though with an incubator we do this for them as I have done a couple of times.  Perhaps I am thinking too deeply since this reasoning applies to my Trudy who has been neutered and seems to enjoy being with me and keeps a vigilant eye out for me and barks whenever necessary and keenly undertakes her daily rodent patrols.  But still I see nature’s hand here and will leave Randa alone for now, recognizing that each next morning all I may see of her are some scattered feathers.

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