Friday morning neighbor Dean asked if I overnight I had acquired an extra red chicken. It seems he forgot to lock his chickens in as he usually does Thursday night and now one was missing. I didn't see any extra hens with my little flock of four. And there were no signs of any chicken struggles so I promptly forgot about it.
For the last two weeks or so I've been letting my chickens out of their pen so they could go scratch and sun and fluff and cluck and do whatever else they do when they are out. I figured it must be safe enough since Dean was letting his out and his dog was behaving itself (i.e.: not "playing" with the chickens), and I hadn't seen any hawks for weeks.
The trouble is I started forgetting to lock the gate after they went in at night. And I didn't heed the warning.
Saturday morning our yard was full of white chicken feathers and one of our white chickens was gone.
There was a trail of feathers leading from the chicken pen through the yard to the back gate...
...and out to the ponds.
About three weeks ago the neighbor three doors down from us lost a goose. That neighbor has a security video camera installed and he said it looked like it captured the image of a smallish black dog. He originally thought maybe Dean's dog had got it, mostly because of the dog's past history, but after examining the dog and other evidence, or lack thereof, we all determined Al to be innocent. (BTW, Al was named after Al Capone because when he was a puppy he had a small scar on his face--Scarface Al Capone.)
So after the most recent two losses in our neighborhood Dean was telling Gene about it. Gene showed Dean (their real names!) his latest video photos. One was a red fox, the other a kit fox. The red fox surprises me but we've had kit foxes here before. Al was vindicated.
So once again the chickens have been shut up in their cage. You've no doubt heard the old saying: It's no use closing the barn door after the horse is gone. But in my case it will save my remaining three chickens.