Life at Upton Abbey*

“Breaking” news…

This just in from Upton Abbey: We have a baby chick! I feel like a father!

We knew something was likely to happen eventually when we discovered that one of the peeps we got several months ago turned out to be a rooster. Total accident. At first, we thought we just had a hen with identity issues when we heard some pretty pathetic crowing out in the chicken yard. Alas, it was a real rooster, and a handsome one at that. He is tall, good looking, with a wonderful red crest, and black and dark rust-red feathers. I realized instantly that he was leading-man material and so I named him Humphrey Bogart (I call him Humphrey even though it seems there could be an unintended double entendre involved). Nevertheless, as we predicted, his hormonal proclivities appear to have changed the dynamic of the hen house.

We noticed one of the hens, Golda by name, started hanging out in the coop a lot. We were suspicious that she and Humphrey had a relationship.

Indeed they did. Today, to our surprise and delight, Golda emerged with one tiny chick. We here at Upton Abbey are thrilled. But we are concerned, because we don’t know the first thing about caring for a single peep and its pretty protective mama. At this point we are trusting that Golda will do what chicken mamas have been doing for millennia. Otherwise, her progeny is doomed.

I’ll keep you posted, but I should say that the survival of our first home-grown chicken is not guaranteed. After all, there were other nest-mates who didn’t make it because we neglected to gather eggs for a day or two, which apparently confused Golda into sitting on the wrong eggs with the result that some of the nestlings wound up in a bowl in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, Humphrey has been crowing more often and loudly lately. Way to go, Humphrey!

* Upton Abbey is what I call our country dwelling unit built over my daughter and son-in-law’s garage. Our nearest neighbors are a flock of chickens and two ducks, Helga and Percival Puddles. Percy has been having an affair with LaVern, one of the chickens who … uh, let’s not talk about it.