The other evening I decided to move the not-spring-chickies up to be with the grownup chickens. Their mother had notified me that it was time: she was sick of them, she explained, and was ready for them to be big chickens on their own.
So at dusk, I grabbed the Mama and one baby, and moved them into the garden. Then I came back for a few more babies. Then a couple more. Soon I had moved all apparent babies. But as I counted the babies with the mama, I kept coming up with "six." Correct number of babies? Seven. "Hmmm," I thought. "We have minus-one babies."
Wherever this singular baby was, I thought, it would be very upset. Chicken babies do not like to be alone in the great big world. But I couldn't find the missing baby anywhere, and I couldn't even hear any agitated peeping. Eventually, I took a closer look at a weird shadow in the baby enclosure. It turned out to be not a weird shadow, but a creepy surprise: the missing baby. It was still, and quiet, and kind of smashed into the corner closest to the garden.
I got the total heebie-jeebies. I remembered my now-prophetic-seeming dream in which a little chicken had been killed by a kitten. Had a kitten gotten into the baby chicken pen? That didn't make any sense. I paced around the gravel outside the baby pen in tight, agitated circles. I did NOT want to crawl in the baby pen and get the sad, creepy little body of the dead little chicken. On the other hand, someone had to do it.
So I decided to see if Amy was awake from her nap.
"Amy!" I said in relief when I found her barely awake and in the kitchen. "Something happened at the chickens." I made a couple more circles and gave a garbled explanation of events. She grabbed some gloves and came outside right away.
That was really nice of her. But HERE is why she is magic and my hero: she crawled in to get the chicken baby, and she got it, and it was not dead. It wasn't even really hurt. It had just gotten its head stuck. That's right: I conscripted her to deal with a dead chicken on my behalf, and not only did she do it without raising a single objection, she crawled out of the pen and held out to me a living chicken. So: magic, and my hero.
Here the little chickens are, enjoying the big-chicken life on a tall, grownup-sized perch. Little baby Stuckface is on the extreme right, this time with her head stuck outside the photo frame. (Will she ever learn?) I banded her so I could keep an eye on her, and she is doing great.