If Only Fritzy Could Talk!

IMG_7991[1]Yesterday, after the eagle incident, I was a bit leery about leaving everyone unattended for fear the mighty hunter would return… Turns out, my instincts were right. I’m not exactly sure what happened at dusk, but here’s my best attempt at piecing together the crime based on the slim evidence I have available…

In the photo above (I was trying to sneak close enough to photograph the dogs making friends with the piglet… ) the dogs on the left are dying to play with the piglet, the piglet has discovered a spot where she can squeeze under the electric fence and has decided to help herself to a bit of mash I’ve put on the ground for the ducks to distract them while I prepare the hog meals. The duck is first on the scene for snacks and over there on the right is Fritz Frizzle. I have no idea where he is heading but he didn’t even slow down at the snack bar.

Several more photos in the series show him moseying on down the hill and disappearing somewhere down near the manure pile. Of course, I was paying no attention to where Fritzy was going because I was busy feeding everyone else and trying to get a good shot of the dog-swine conversation and it was only later that I studied the photos to see if I could spot him anywhere and thereby figure out when he was last known to be in one piece.

There are a whole slew of things that get done between the afternoon feed and the dusk bird round-up during which I mosey up and down the hill a few times myself, tucking various flocks into various secure houses so nobody gets eaten by owls or raccoons overnight. Usually, Fritzy hops up on the fence beside the gate and waits for me to pick him up and carry him into his secure pen. His girlfriend, Lucy, has a private dog-kennel apartment in the hay shed (how she wound up there is described in this post).

Usually, Fritzy is in position by the time I’m heading for the upper duck pen and I scoop him up on my way and herd any straggler ducks into bed with Fritzy tucked under my arm. Yesterday, he wasn’t in his usual spot. Nor was he in his second favourite spot, inside the tomato hoop house. I checked the hay shed in case he was mooning around trying to get Lucy’s attention. Searched high and low and could find him nowhere. I had the awful feeling that the eagle had returned and made off with my lovely little Fritzy…

I tried to console myself that the eagle was obviously hungry to be so brazen to snatch Fritzy and make off with him while I was around, but having witnessed the drake hunt I couldn’t rule out that possibility. Still needing to sprint up the road to close up the chicken pen in the leased field, I left his pen door open and tried not to feel too miserable.

I checked around again when I was feeding night hay, shining my flashlight under the bushes where he and Lucy had been during the eagle attack, thinking he might have hidden there, hoping I wouldn’t find a pile of feathers. Nothing.

This morning I did all the rounds, keeping an eye out for Fritz, just in case, though I had resigned myself to his sad demise. My breath caught at some point when I spotted a reddish brown pile of what I thought was feathers and turned out to be ancient maple leaves in the hog pen. I kept trying to shut off the endless loop of ‘Why him? Why one of my favourites? I should have let the eagle eat the drake – I have too many drakes and after a meal like that the eagle wouldn’t have needed to eat again for days…’

At the very end of the morning rounds I was kneeling down in the goat pen talking to King (one of the kashmir goats) when I heard a distinctive cough behind me. I turned around and there he was! Fritz Frizzle had returned! He looked terrible, like a middle aged man with a bad hairpiece who had been out on a wild bender. One eye was weepy and more closed than open and, strangest of all, his comb was missing! All that’s left is a fleshy stump!

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I can only imagine what happened… did the eagle think that all those wild and crazy feathers actually indicate the size of the bird? Maybe he had hold of feathers in one talon and poor Fritzy’s comb in the other? How far had they got before the eagle dropped my poor little rooster? Fritzy never hangs out in the goat pen – he was approaching from completely the wrong direction – coming downhill from the opposite end of the property from where he usually hangs out… Had he holed up under somebody’s car or deck or a handy log overnight and then started walking at dawn? Had it taken him five hours to get back home again?

Despite his nocturnal misadventures, he was not impressed when I scooped him up and put him into his pen with food and water. He perked up a bit when I delivered Lucy to him and by the end of the day, despite his rather oddly shaped head, he appeared to be completely fine. His eye was open and clear and he was sitting beside Lucy, chatting in that funny little voice of his.

What wouldn’t I give to know what on earth happened to Fritz Frizzle… Very, very glad he is back at home and safe and sound. I’ll keep him in for a couple of days to make sure he really, truly is ok and then… yeah. I’ll have to decide whether or not to let the two love birds back out again.

Meanwhile, WHEW!

25 responses to “If Only Fritzy Could Talk!

  1. Oh poor Fritz! Glad he showed up – do combs grow back?

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  2. Sounds like Fritz had some kind of nasty encounter. I’m glad he is back. He might be a little reluctant to go back out in the future.

    Your list of chores each day is long. What do you do when you have to be away? Or, do you never get away?

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    • I was also wondering how keen he will be to wander after all that…

      It is a long chore list and with livestock, you just never know what they might throw at you. It is really hard to get away – even local events are tricky if they happen at the wrong time of day. I have a couple of farm sitters who will come and stay here if I need to be away for a few days at a time, but that can be tricky if they aren’t available. Spontaneous weekend getaways don’t happen too often!

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  3. I challenge you to write the story anyway, from Fritzy’s point of view and in Fritzy’s voice. He knows what happened, even if you don’t.

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  4. Oh, what a relief! Hate it when they get your favourite 😦 Hope he heals well and stays safe.

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  5. Poor baby! So glad there was a happy ending!

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  6. Ah, the adventures of being a chicken. We have a crippled Ameraucana named Forrest to keeps to herself in the coop. But then there was this one day when she hobbled out and was attacked by a hawk. I figured she was gone, but nope. She’s still with us, despite being effectively scalped. The resilience of chickens is amazing!

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  7. Lovely story. So glad it had a happy ending!

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  8. Have you seen the eagle webcam from Decorah in NE Iowa? They have been tending to the nest off and on preparing to lay eggs in February. Follow the link to see a live view. There is a 30 sec ad at first.
    http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles

    Here are a few recent visits by them posted to YouTube.

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    • This is so cool!!!!!! Thanks for posting the link… I love the way they are tidying up any stray sticks that happen to be messing up the nest. How amazing to be able to watch them throughout the season.

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  9. All you need is a lamb and a lion and I think you’d have heaven!

    Are those Scottish deerhounds? They look like one of the big shaggy sight hounds … which I totally love. Hounds and terriers, separately and together!

    Wonderful site. I’m so glad I found you!

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    • The dogs are whippet X standard poodles… better known as lurchers in England. They are the coolest dogs ever… They are blisteringly fast outside, but mellow as can be in the house (except when unexpected visitors show up… then, some bouncing off the couch/walls/bed/visitor has been known to occur). They don’t shed and don’t generally bark much and they are the kind of dog where you can just leave a full bowl of food out and they’ll modestly snack throughout the day without ever over-indulging.

      I’m very glad you found me, too – I’ve been enjoying reading your posts as well. I often sneak in quick blog reads while waiting for water buckets to fill and that sort of thing and because that often happens when I only have my phone, for some reason I’m often not able to comment even when I’m using the WP app… very frustrating as later in the day when I’m back at a computer I can’t always remember all the various posts I was hoping to go back to and say something!

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      • Well, glad you are enjoying my place too. I couldn’t tell how big the dogs are but I imagine, given the breeding, they are really fast and agile too. I’m a little slow to try to manage really fast dogs. Even my little terriers can out maneuver me these days. How humiliating … but funny.

        I always wanted a farm … but not the labor and uncertainty that goes with it. How you manage all that work and a blog too I can’t even imagine. Do you sleep? Bet you don’t have time to be bored. Ever!

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      • I think it would be lovely to be able to go and visit other people’s farms – drink in the ambiance, enjoy the farm-y odors, eat the good food, but not have to get up in the middle of the night or fret over missing roosters or sick or injured animals! Maybe when I retire I’ll do exactly that. What a luxury to be able to sleep in and not exist in a perpetual low level state of worry…

        I just love the terrier personalities! So entertaining! As for the speed of mine, unless they are in hot pursuit of a rabbit, they are excellent about coming when I whistle, which is a good thing because chasing them down would be impossible.

        As for boredom… you have that right. The closest I come to being still is when I sit, puzzled, staring at my to-do list wondering which end to start at! Thank goodness for mobile devices, quick naps, and the flexibility to be able to work late and squeeze in bits and pieces of writing/blogging time between back-breaking labour sessions… Somehow, usually, it all comes together.

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      • And being young enough to keep up that kind of schedule!

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  10. Be careful out there. A hawk scooped UUP my grandfather’s toy poodle when he let him outside to relive himself. Flew away with the poor boy never to be seen again. Happy your too made it back home safely.

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