Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our First Casualty

It has happen. It is something you kind of know in the back of your head is very possible. Yet, you hope it wont happen to you.

Last night we were invited to dinner with friends. It was a meal that need to happen. We meet at a local restaurant and expected to be home within two hours... around the time the last of the chickens head into the coop. We ended up getting home about 45 minutes later then expected. It was dark and my dad simply walked up and dropped the door and latched it closed. Nothing seemed out of place.

Well this morning I took the dogs out and went to get the chickens out. As I started up the hill, I noticed a few black feathers... further up there were a lot more. I panicked. My girls are all black. I ran the last bit to the coop, threw the door open and pulled up their door. One by one they poped out into the run and I counted. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.... No! I looked in the coop... empty. I looked back in the run and counted again and third time just to be safe. 10 chickens! One of them was gone!

I walked around and saw nothing more than the piles of feathers in the yard. No holes were dug under the fence. The coop was untouched. My best guess is that a girl flew over the fence, again, and a stray cat got her. Probably the orange one that tends to watch the chickens from time to time. I know a neighbor with chickens has scarred the cat off with a bb gun a number of times.

I wanted to know what chicken was gone. Honestly, I hoped it was Little It.  But a quick glance told me Big Boy and Little It were in the run. So I crouched down close to the fence and the girls were nervous to come near me. They stayed huddled in the center. Big Boy placed himself between me and the girls and kicked his feathers at me. Big Boy was so upset, usually he ran to greet me and let me pet him. After a little cooing the girls slowly broke up and cautiously made their way to me. I first checked to see if Big Momma was there... love that girl!... she was. Then I ran down the list. Violet, Tulip, Rose, Lily.... Lily? Scan again. No, Lily was not there. My precious Lily...she is always good at flying the coop. Lily, the one chicken from the get go as chicks, who loved to be held and stroked. Lily and Big Momma were always the first to greet you at the fence edge. When we sat on the log, Lily always pushed her way up to your lap to be held. Now, Little Lily will not be there to do any of that.

When you start off with chickens, you know that they are easy prey. You know that you will probably lose one or two along the way. Yet when it happens, it is a sad reminder of how life goes. And of course it had to be one of the favorites....

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