Early this morning, our three hens lost a battle with some wild animal. Killed for some visceral reason, yet left mostly intact. I found two of them outside both the fenced in chicken yard and outside our 6 foot cedar fence, too. Whatever killed them dragged two of them over a 4 foot wire fence, and either over the wooden privacy fence or out the gate that was open only a few inches.
I only noticed after I had gotten the grass trimmer out of the shed and looked over to see a chicken on her back. She wasn’t moving. They often take dirt baths so this wasn’t an odd position to see them in, but it was odd that she wasn’t moving. I said, “Hey!”, because maybe they hadn’t heard me come out. No such luck.
I had been leaving the door to the coop open overnight so they could enjoy the long evenings and the early mornings. I don’t get up nearly as early as the sunrise these days, and I hated to make them stay cooped up. I guess that’s where we get that expression from, isn’t it?
I guess cooped up, in the big picture, would have been better for them. I don’t pretend to understand the pitiless nature of the wild, but I really should have believed Jack London – he was ALWAYS writing about the relentless pursuit of predators. I just didn’t think it would reach all the way into our patch of land.
Even so, “It was not judgment day; only morning, excellent and fair.” William Styron, from “Sophie’s Choice”.