It’s ALL my fault!

Night before last I volunteered to go and make sure the girls had found their way back into the coop, onto their roosts, and tucked themselves in for bed. We’d just come in from running errands, so I grabbed a flashlight and headed out. I was just a few steps from the back door when I turned the flashlight on and thought, “Does this thing work?” I hit it a couple of times it got a tad bit brighter, and so I proceeded.

I went out to the coop, and tried to open the big – people sized entrance – door and because of all of the rain and moisture, it was swollen shut, and I couldn’t get it open. (And John has shaved it down a couple of times already! Dang – we need warmer, dryer weather!) So I went around to the little run – where there’s a window into the coop above the chicken door, and peek through – and got a head count. Only – it was dark in there – and my flashlight wasn’t so strong, and I kept losing count. I finally stuck my head through the chicken door and tried counting again – but again, I wasn’t sure. I finally thought, “Sheesh! It’s not like they don’t just put themselves to bed every night!” and so I figured it WAS 15 I’d counted and went back into the house.
Yesterday morning I went out to let the girls out into the run. I opened the chicken door, said my good mornings to them, and was just outside of the run when I spied Henrietta racing toward me – from around the end of the coop – on the outside of the run! I looked at her and said, “How’d you get out here?”
It was then that I realized she was drenched, and cold, and shivering, and one of her eyes was closed, and she looked more than just a little ruffled.
She didn’t make it into the coop the night before! She’d spent the night OUT!
Here’s Pepper giving me the “BAD chicken Mom!” look:

POOR Henrietta!

Oh my word! I gathered her up into my arms – where she gladly tucked her head against my shoulder, and took her inside. I once again commandeered Pepper’s indoor bed (which she honestly doesn’t give much of a rip about – she’d much rather sleep with her people!) for a temporary chicken hospital.

Once I had a chance to hold her and dry her off a bit and warm her up considerably, I was able to get a pretty good look at her.

First – her left eye is closed – for some reason – not sure exactly why, but she won’t open it for anything.

Next – she’s a little bald on that left side, too – around the ear.

And – she’s got a couple of pin prick places with dried blood.

She was missing a few bigger feathers on her shoulder – but not much. There was no blood or injury anywhere else. My deduction – she’d hidden in the blackberry bushes and somehow managed to get some pin pricks from the thorns.


Jess and I had noticed on the weekend that she seemed to be losing some feathers on her undercarriage – and I chalked it up to a potential oncoming molt. From what I’ve read not out of the question.

So – here are the pictures…

She really just is loving being held and doted on – yeah, what chicken doesn’t?! But honestly, a little more than normal.

I would move her back out with the rest of the girls if that eye weren’t closed. I can just see them going after it and that’d be the end of that. So, she’s an indoor chicken for the time being. I’m considering letting them all out to free range today and then letting her do the same – only staying close and supervising to make sure Henrietta doesn’t get beaten up. We’ll see…

I gotta admit – we’re so fortunate, though. We have racoons in our yard NIGHTLY. We see them ALL the time. When it snowed so much -we all saw how many racoon tracks there were around the coop -they were sure interested in getting in there! (My husband is such a genius – he did such a great job at constructing the coop!) Henrietta – by all rights, could have easily been a racoon snack, or an owl snack (there’s one that hangs out on the side of the house), or a coyote snack (been sightings in the neighborhood recently), or a big cat snack (one of those sighted recently, too). But she merely had a run in with a blackberry vine. Wow. She’s one lucky chicken!


6 thoughts on “It’s ALL my fault!

  1. Oh dear – poor Henrietta. I’m so glad she survived the night. I almost did this very thing last night, too. I *always* do a headcount. And yesterday evening, for some weird reason, I just assumed everyone was there. I locked the coop up tight and went inside. I just happened to go down later to give fresh water and decided then, just for giggles, to do my headcount. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10…wait. 2, 4, 6, 8…10…, ok, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10…where’s 11?? It’s Rose-Uppity…she wasn’t there. I opened the door and started calling, and out she popped – from underneath the coop. Sometimes she dallies in that middle pasture when everyone else is sticking closer to the coop. She must have dallied even more than normal yesterday. I was soooo glad I went back out. Lesson learned, huh? 🙂

  2. I feel like such a bad chicken Mom! How could I miss one?! Here, just when I was starting to think, “You know, it’s been almost a year – and I think we might have it all down!” Yeah – still learning!!!
    I’m SO glad you found Rose-Uppity when you did! Isn’t it funny how there’s always one that is a little more bold or adventurous than the others?!

  3. That’s so funny that you say this. I was having this conversation with two friends just yesterday – about how lucky I’ve been and that it’s almost a year and we’ve not had any illness or predator issues yet, like so many of my city-chicken-owner acquaintances. I felt like I was jinxing myself just uttering those words “almost a year and haven’t lost a single one”… and this was my very first thought when I realized Rose U. was missing. “Me and my big mouth”, I thought. lol

  4. Okay, as a non-chicken person (dreaming of one day tho), I just loved that you could bring her inside and give her some personal attention.
    Bless her,

  5. I am glad she is ok and wasn’t a raccoon snack. Maybe a thorn scratched her eye. Raccoons are the sneakiest things and always love to hang around hoping that we will leave the gate open.

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