Separation  Anxiety


Most of the time when you hear the phrase "separation  anxiety", you think of a time when a parent and child are experiencing the pangs of being apart for the first time. This story is a little different.

For one thing, it is not about parent and child being separated, it is about me and one of my chickens.

In this new adventure, we have already suffered some losses. We lost one of our little Mallard ducks (not sure what caused its death). We lost all but one of our turkeys, due to several  different factors, the last one being a predator. When we found the hole in the fence (after 10:00 p.m. one night), and a turkey unaccounted for, we immediately began working on setting up an electric fence to deter other predators (we do have a problem with opossums, raccoons, coyotes, stray dogs, etc). By the next days end, we had our fence up and operating. Two strands around the entire pen. One just above ground level and the second one about waist high. Everything seemed to be working pretty well to keep our little flock safe. I had to be careful going in and out of the pen, as they (the birds) tend to flock around me. One day a week or so ago, as I was bringing some fresh plant material to the birds, I reached to open the door to the pen, and touched the electric fence by mistake. Of course, I jerked my hand back. The door was standing open, and before I knew it, one of my chickens flew out. A second one started out after her. I pushed the second one back into the pen and closed the door. As my big chocolate lab, Sassie was with me, I paused to go chain her up (just in case she was hungry).Then, I set to work, trying to catch my errant bird. Poor little thing kept stepping on the electric fence and squawking her head off (the power to the fence was hooked up inside a building toward the other end of the yard). She then disappeared through the property line fence at the back of our property, into a wooded area. All this commotion began at about dusk. Well, my husband came out to see what the commotion was about and tried to help me.

After a few minutes, she came back out, headed straight toward the pen again, and stepped right back onto the fence again, squawked some more, and headed back into the woods. My husband  turned the fence off, and we called and called and called. But she didn't come back. My husband eventually gave up and went back inside. I turned the light on at the pen and kept hoping she would come back, even though it was dark. Finally, I said a prayer for her safety, turned the light off, and went inside. Sounds a little silly, but I felt heartsick. I had not lost one chicken (so far), and due to an unfortunate incident, it looked as if my statistics had changed. I figured one of the wild animals that frequented our neck of the woods, would find her and that would be that. My husband told me to set the clock and he would get up early the next morning and turn off the fence, just in case she found her way back. True to his word, he got up and turned off the fence in the morning. I had resigned myself to the fact that we had probably lost her for good. When I went out to feed the birds, guess who was strolling around the outside of the  pen? That's right, the wayward chicken had returned. I was cautiously trying to get her in the pen when my son came running out to the pen. I asked him to walk slowly toward her (with the door to the pen open). When he did what I asked, she came right inside the pen.

It is funny, I never thought I would feel such a great sense of relief to know a little chicken was safely back where she belonged, but it was a very good feeling.

As I went about feeding the birds that day, I thought of the story about the shepherd who had one hundred sheep, and one went missing.  He left the "ninety and nine" to seek out and bring home the lost sheep. The story tells of how he comes back rejoicing that he found the little lost sheep.

Let me tell you, I was very thankful that my chick had been safe through the night, and made it back home.