As a chicken keeper, on a small scale, our flock members all have names. They all have personalities; motherly, crazy, loner, curious, peckish, ornery.
Today we lost Zap. While free ranging, the flock came under attack from a red fox. Yes, I could keep them caged all the time, but they belong outside being happy. The ruckus caused by the intruder was mistake for loud and noisy mating. Let's face it, Zap was ravenous in that area of his life. When Caughlin looked outside he saw the red beast. It was running around the side of the barn with little Meriwether in its maw. It dropped her and ran off across the hayfield.
Feathers were everywhere. Caughlin took stock of the flock and birds started coming out of hiding. He found zap halfway down the meadow. He put up one hell of a fight before the fox found his neck. We found his feathers at each of the feather spots around the yard, so not only did he warn the girls and give them time to run, but he continued to fight every time the fox tried for another hen.
Lucy was also lost.
Cirrus is shocked and has a few small punctures and maybe a dislocated wing. She is wrapped and resting in the barn. But eating mealworms like the crack they are. She may be a wing dragger for life. Her days of sneaking into the barn flying up to the high food stores may be over. But for now, she is alive.
Poor Ethel lost her entire tail and is scared silly. I can't blame her. She has a few scratches and is resting in the barn.
Meriwether had a couple of scratches and is otherwise fine.
All have been cleaned and will be watched. Cirrus and Ethel could still pass from shock, so we are ready for that.
The birds will remain in the coop and run for at least a week. And Heaven help the fox if he comes back and I'm out there. I know it was just collecting food for itself or kits, but that doesn't mean I'm running a KFC.
Nature is as nature is. It hasn't been the first loss, and it won't be the last.
Zap and Lucy share a spot under the Mulberry tree.
The silence when the sun rises over the acreage in the morning will be deafening.