The youngest flock of chickens—
plus three young guineas—
have been living in an outside pen
that connects to the barn.
They’ve had access to the indoor coop
but not to the entire barn,
where the older flock lives.
This has protected the younger hens
and younger roosters
from more aggressive roosters.
Now they are all grown up—
and last week,
Ann and Frank butchered
the three most aggressive roosters.
That leaves two roosters—
a white-tailed one
and the big, beautiful Cochin.
The Cochin are shy souls.
I’ve seen the rooster back away
from hens, who fend him off
with a simple peck.
The big, beautiful gray Cochin hen,
who snuggles underneath him,
does not fend him off.
She is so shy,
her fertive forays into the bigger barn
end with her finding a corner to hide in,
and she always finds her way
back to the safety of her coop corner.
We wonder if she’ll ever have the courage
to venture outdoors,
once its safe for the birds to leave the barn.

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Cochin hen, hiding in a corner

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Cochin rooster, standing next to Cochin hen, hiding in the corner

Now,
Pearl, one of the pygmy goats,
escapes daily from the barnyard pen
that is her home.
We were surprised when she greeted
Ann one evening
as Ann walked up to the barn.
We were surprised when she escaped
again
after we had spent much of the morning
reinforcing the fence.
We were surprised
when she found her way out again.
We don’t know why she leaves the pen,
because we usually find her
just outside the gate,
waiting to be let back in.
We reinforced another patch of  fence,
secured a gate more tightly,
and she escaped again.
At this point,
we have no idea how she gets out.

Barnyard mysteries
are part of daily life here;
life we can’t
predict,
control.
They keep us open,
observant,
engaged,
amused.