Wednesday, August 24, 2011


In late June, I thought I was finished with Olive stories for good.  Olive had disappeared after a run-in with a neighbor's dog and I feared the worst.  Gone were the sweet antics of a funny looking hen that had woven her way into my heart with her eccentric ways.  I had dedicated a blog post to her - Rest in Peace, Sweet Olive.  Those of you who keep up with the Olive stories by way of my blog posts knew my joy at discovering that she was alive and well and had only been chased away and was returned by a fellow named Ed - my hero.

Since then, she has had another close call - a run-in with a chicken hawk who apparently wasn't strong enough to get her off the ground.  Her silky feathers and long necked, awkward and unbalanced body proved too much for him to hold on to.  Those two encounters traumatized sweet Olive and she hasn't let me pick her up since the last one.   The trauma had caused her to quit laying eggs so I had given up on looking her nest every day.  She had been moving her nest every few weeks anyway so it was becoming more difficult to find where her new hiding place would be. 

When we came home from the coast this past weekend, she didn't come out to greet us from under the tree cover where she always hangs out so I started checking her nesting places.  There she was - in the same corner under the eaves of the house where she patiently tried hatching out her eggs back in April.  My readers remember the hatching of only one egg - baby Rube - a bantam - who didn't belong to Olive at all but she tried to raise it as her own.  Olive was a loner at that time - never getting near enough to the roosters for any hope of having a fertile egg of her own.  That's all changed now since the hawk encounter.  She's been seeking the security of "safety in numbers" and I've witnessed some close encounters of romance with Red Breast, our eight-year old Cochin rooster. 

I was tempted to take her off the nest and get rid of the eggs when I saw that she was determined to sit them again.  Broody hens are not easy to deter - they'll sit for days without even taking a break for water or food.  But now that we've been having some cooler weather, I decided to let her find out what it's like to be a mother of her own kind.  Not that she wasn't a good mother to the little bantam - she tried her best - but I would also love to see how a cross between her beautiful Polish Hen breed and the Cochin will turn out.   Besides, she's in a safe, protected place with our protective dog sleeping close by so I'll worry about her less there than in the hen yard where all kinds of predators have bothered them in the past. 

I'm hoping I can gain her trust again someday.  Maybe the reflective time sitting on her nest will make her forget about the trauma she has experienced in the recent months.  The joy and sadness that I've experienced with my animals lately have also influenced me to distance myself emotionally from them - not wanting to be hurt again.  Cello, my tough but sweet old cat, was recently run over by a car.  Maybe I need a time for reflection too.

There's a quote attributed to Jim Rohn, the philosopher / motivational speaker that says:  The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.   This is true.  Our animals do give us great joy - even though the joy is tempered with sadness when we have to let them go.


  1. Lovely to catch up on Olive and know that she is O.K .Perhaps if she has chicks she'll be proud of them and regain confidence and trust

  2. Maybe the chicks will be fuzzy with a wild hair do. I put a roost stick lower in the coop and another in the run. She has started using them, both. I'll check tonight and see if she sleeps like a real bird.

  3. Good Luck Olive - hope they hatch before the colder weather sets in! (which was last week for us!)

  4. The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy. Oh boy, that is so true. Since my little dog passed on I've not been able to replace her, and go to my friend's house where her little dog gets a lot of loving from me. It sounds like it is a real education, and a whole lot of fun with some traumas mixed in raising chickens. I often wonder what it would be like to raise chickens, but don't live in an area where they would be allowed anyway. I enjoy hearing about yours though. Sorry to hear about your little kitty too.

  5. That is almost an impossibility. You love animals too. My kitty is just a kitty, He is sweet though and he Loves us, He follows us around like he is a puppy. We would be lost without him, but he is getting older. We know he is 8, but not sure how long they live, Especially since he is an outdoor cat.


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