I've been quite worried about this day because Jemima, Betsy and baby chick are in a makeshift brooder, with only some straw bales and a piece of scrap wood between their nesting area and the feed area where the barn cats eat. Peppy seems so small and fragile and with all our other losses lately, I simply didn't want to face another.
Once again, turns out I wasted worry for nothing. While Chris the Cat was at first quite interested in the mysterious "peep, peeps"from behind the straw bales, I'm sure the hissing, snarling she-duck scared him off (she certainly scared me off).
Then late last week, I found Peppy and Betsy strutting around the goat area, scratching and nimbly hopping around the impatient and clumsy 'feed-me-right-NOW' goat hooves.
As soon as the goats saw me, all hell broke loose (they were REALLY hungry) and Mama and babe made their escape back into feed area where Peppy got her first crash course in flying.
As soon as Betsy disappeared behind the wooden partition, Peppy started to flap and peep and generally work herself up into a total panic. Like a moth drawn to the light but stopped by the clear glass of a window pane, she flapped and bounced off the partition, her tiny wings unable to carry her those last few inches over the top. Betsy called to her, her clucks raising in pitch and volume, like she was willing her young charge upward to safety.
Despite an overwhelming urge to intervene, to scoop her up and carry her over to her nest on the other side, I resisted. This was Peppy's life lesson after all.
Okay, so maybe I moved the wooden partition over just a bit. Two feet is pretty far to fly when you're only four inches tall.