update on White “I got attacked by a hawk and lived to tell the tale” Tail

A belated update on White Tail the chicken.

In short, she’s fine.

It’s amazing that she managed to get through a (presumed) hawk attack largely unscathed.

To recap, she got preyed upon a week ago Thursday (Hawkeye, RIP). She spent that Thursday night in the chicken coop with the rest of the birds. We didn’t get a good look at her until early Friday morning. At that point we decided to isolate her and put her in the plastic cat kennel in the greenhouse. She seemed fine all things considered, although she was both lethargic and pathetic. She was making these unusual peeps. “Poor me”? “Ouch”?  “OMG, A HAWK”?  I’d never heard any of the chickens make those sounds before.

White Tail spent Friday night in the kennel, but Saturday night was supposed to be below freezing. Consequently, we decided to put the kennel in the (house) basement so she’d be warmer and hopefully heal more quickly. As of Saturday, it seemed like she was going to live, but she was still lethargic.

She spent Saturday night in the stove room in the basement. Fortunately, Mabs the cat did not realize she was in there and scratch at the door all night. Phew! We moved her into the basement bathroom at dawn Sunday morning so she would get some natural sunlight (the stove room has no windows).

When we “woke her up” Sunday morning and moved her into the basement bathroom, it seemed as if she was back to normal chicken-dom. For the first time since the attack, she wasn’t either lethargic or pathetic. Her face and body were perky, she was interactive with us (yes, chickens interact with humans), and she was making normal chicken sounds.

Ron remembered that we have a (semi)mobile chicken coop-duh!–so we put her in the mobile coop Saturday mid-morning. That way she could be outside and with the other chickens, but she was (more) protected. We checked on her a few hours later and, again, she was a normal chicken. In  fact, she looked fantastic–her feathers were all poofy and, perhaps most notable, her namesake tail was upright and splayed out. White Tail was also doing the mobile coop chicken pacing routine–wandering back and forth, clearly wanting out. So we let her out midday.

White Tail spent much of Monday in the permanent chicken coop, and for most of the early week would walk carefully from patch of weeds to patch of weeds. She’s been rather wary, careful, and suspicious after The Great Hawk Incident of 2015, generally avoiding the open as much as possible. Wise bird.

She still carries her left wing a bit oddly–all the talon and bite marks are on the left side of her back (and, um, lower neck). We’re not sure if she broke a feather “bone,” if she’s still sore, if some tissue in the wing got damaged, or what, but she’s still not 100%. Chicken flying is always more than a bit haphazard, but she’s more spastic than usual. We don’t know if she’ll recover fully in a few weeks or if she has some permanent damage.

But it looks like White Tail will survive Hawk Attack 2015.

Hawkeye, RIP.

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