This evening around 7.45pm I decided to quickly visit the chicken house and collect the eggs as it has been two days since I did this and we have a couple of broody hens who are sitting on the fresh laid eggs and keeping them warm so the eggs start to develop and therefore I should have done this yesterday...anyway thats another story...
So in the half light I put my hand under under one of the broody hens, taking great care that she didnt peck me, picked up the other loose eggs in the boxes and then reached under yet another broody hen to extract the eggs when I felt a soft body of another type of animal.
I admit to freaking out at first thinking that the body I felt was that of a rat as it had a tail and then found to my surprise that it was a kitten and that actually there were three kittens all keeping warm under this broody chicken.
What a shock-how did they get there? This chicken house is shut up with wire and metal walls and full of about 35 hens and one rooster? There was no cat present and how did three newborn kittens find their way into a box above the ground under a chicken. Oh I wish I had taken a picture but I had a bucket full of eggs and was in shock at what I had found so my first thought was to tell the family and get others to see what I found. My daughter and the two French visitors came to see and help me take out the kittens-as dusk was about to descend and the the chickens in the coop were looking quite put out at this unprecedented level of activity before their bedtime so it didnt occur to me to bring the camera and show the picture of this find-anyway another hen in the same box had started to peck the kittens now they had shown themselves from under the broody chicken so it was time to remove them from this strange place.
We took them into the house and here they are.
I thought I would have to drown them as without the mother they would need a lot of care and we are not set up for this however my daughter got onto facebook and miracle of miracles a local woman agreed to take them as she is already looking after young kittens and has the capacity to care for them. Actually 7 people contacted my daughter within 20 mins of her posting what we had found on social media-truely this is a powerful medium.
At 10.30pm I met the woman's husband in Matakana which is a 10 minute drive from the farm-he was on his way home from work on the north shore. We had a hot water bottle under the woolen scarf to keep the kittens warm and the first report from the rescuer is that they were feeding strongly.
Really its a miracle-if I hadn't gone out then they would have been three dead bodies under a chicken.
Yesterday sadly our 13 year old Labrador Frodo had to be put to sleep here on the farm as he suffered a stroke which had paralyzed and blinded him and today three kittens are born and are found under a hen-life here on Caretaker Farm is always interesting.