I came out to do the chores late this afternoon. The weather was dreary, cold (~35F), and freezing rain had fallen off and on all day. In short, it was about as miserable as could be.
And then I discovered, in the vineyard, an Australorp hen huddled near the feed pan and making an unmistakable cluck-cluck-clucking sound. And, from underneath her (muffled, as it were), was the equally unmistakable cheep-cheep-cheep of a newly hatched chick. Sure enough, as Mother Hen came to get her feed, the chick popped out and joined her.
I haven't the slightest idea where she had her nest, or how many other eggs she had, or how many of her chicks have already frozen to death...or how long this one will last. I just know that Mother Hen is entirely on her own with this one; I can't set up a brooder lamp, what with the impending move --- and it would be a total waste to generate that kind of heat for a single chick, anyhow. I do hope the chick survives, but this isn't exactly the weather for it. All I can say is: This will be interesting.