A Christmas Miracle (very small one…)

Okay, folks, it's time to get blogging about the Ranch again.  Things are happening big time around here.

For example, we had a Christmas miracle all our own.

For weeks when Cathy has been tending the chickens at night, closing them up warm and cozy in their hutch, she has noticed that one is missing.  Still, when she counts them during the day they all would seem to be there.  Very strange.

On the other hand, they all share a distinct family resemblance, and they are very busy, so it is hard to count them.

But  on the morning after Christmas, the mystery was solved when Cathy found a mama hen and several tiny yellow chicks close to the giant Carolina jasmine bush nestled against the Learning Center. 

Amazingly, Mama had set on her clutch of eggs for many days and escaped the various varmints constantly on prowl–cats, possums, raccoons, and foxes–and hatched a dozen or so babies successfully.

We hustled them into an empty coop and Cathy made the dash to Tractor Supply in Taylor for a small waterer and feeder set, shavings, and some chicken chow where Mama can raise the babies in safety.  One little guy that was not doing too well was taken in hand (literally) by Ashley to tend in the warmth of her cabin.

Mama seems as proud of herself as we are of her.  The lady at the Tractor Supply told Cathy, “You take good care of that mama.  She's got the right instincts and a lot of them don't, 'cause they're just bred for egg production.”

We promise.  We will.

And our little ones will join a whole host of others as they grow up.  The week before Christmas we took delivery on 100 young laying hens to stock our “chicken tractor,” a mobile chicken house with nesting boxes that can be relocated at will into various areas of the Ranch, enabling the chickens to free range during the day and be safe at night.

But for now they're tucked away in their nursery, safe from harm.

And we are inexplicably totally delighted with our little Christmas miracle.