Our rooster, Spencer, has disappeared. One morning he was there; then that afternoon he vanished and didn’t show up for the chook food. El Hubs said he had been out gardening and saw a shadow cross over the grass in front of him. He looked up to see one of the usual harrier hawks fly over the property. Harrier hawks in New Zealand are known as Kahu.

They are very elegant birds to watch. As they ride the thermal currents above the property, I often see them attacked by plovers (don’t like those squawking birds at all!). The hawks are just minding their business, looking for something to eat but get hassled. I guess that’s what happened – a harrier hawk was cruising and spotted Spencer.

Our chooks are free-range and they spend a lot of their time fossicking in our large front paddock. I would have thought a pretty large rooster was too big for a harrier hawk to snatch and carry but you never know. It’s also possible that Spencer just gave up the ghost. Chooks last for about four years and we’re not sure how old he was when a local farmer gave him to us about 18 months ago. We’ve searched the paddocks for him but nothing.

He was such a tame rooster and we’re pretty sad, especially because part of our farm life has been waking up to Spencer’s rooster calls as he gathered his harem around him. One of our hens recently had two babies and we’re hoping one is a rooster.

Now that I think about it – I remember when Zeph was a little puppy and he was exploring in one of the large paddocks. I was walking behind him and a shadow crossed over us. I looked up to see a harrier hawk starting its descent. I am totally sure it was making its way down to Zeph and I ran to Zeph and basically threw myself on him. The hawk flew off.

Anyway. The chooks are still laying and we found a strange, elongated egg the other day. I think it’s the Orpington chook laying this egg and maybe it’s a double-yolk. I’ll find out this week – I’m planning to whip up a pav (or pavlova for my American readers).