Blood. A spot. On Syndee’s ear. Not good. Something else is dead.
It’s the end of summer here and I sit outside for a few minutes with the two dogs and fondle their ears. There is usually something to find, burs and stickers mostly. Blood? Not so much. I know what this means without knowing the whole story. First blood could be one of a very few perpetrators, but this blood presents only as a clue. Before I put them in the back pasture and before I make the early morning rounds of the chickens and the ducks, I need to walk the near earth and discover who did what to who.
Feathers. Outside the goose pen gate. White feathers, scattered about, mostly the little fluffy ones. The geese count three and look in good shape. Another pile. Not white. An attack pile away from the others, towards the Americana chickens in Coop 5. Not good. I thought never opened it yesterday, so I didn’t bother going up and closing it last night. This is the source of the blood. But Big Syndee wouldn’t be the culprit. She doesn’t kill my chickens. Her chickens. But she’ll accept an invitation to a free meal.
The other one. Smaller, pure white Sydnee, she would do this. But she couldn’t. Not reasonably. Yesterday, when we went out in the afternoon, I had closed the pasture gates. I know because I had to open them…very early this morning. The dogs were barking. I got up and went out to see. I opened the gates and walked back…nothing to see. Something had happened or was happening, and the dogs ran to it. Now, with the light, I could see what that something was.
A sinking feeling came over me as I walked further back to Coop 5. Where were the chickens? I saw that the little coop door was left open. There were no chickens behind the water tank where they usually congregated. None either among the high weeds and reeds that cloaked the fenced in chicken yard. Nor in the fence enclosed chicken run which protected Coop 5. Looking through the wire into the coop I didn’t see a single bird. Last hope, I went around to external nest boxes to see who might be laying eggs. I unlatched the door to the first set of four boxes. Nadda. Then the second. No luck. With a sickness at the bottom of my stomach I started to accept that whatever happened, all of my Coop 5 chickens were gone. In one night.