Tuesday was not a good chicken day here. The weather was unusually beautiful. John and I were on the sun porch on the computers most of the morning. The chickens were enjoying the sun and the bugs and worms in the fields and lawn. But by noon we noticed that feathers were in the yard where there were none before. Nate went out to follow the feather trail. They went from the barn and all the way around the house and then up into the back field.
John went out later to brush hog the back field and found the hapless chicken body that you see in the photograph above. A fox had gotten her in broad daylight and ran with her in his mouth right past the windows in which we sat.
The chickens have also been nervous of the noisy tractor as it brush hogs. And Willow, one of the three beagles, got loose and ran right to the barn so that she could chase chickens — her favorite activity after eating.
On the next day, Wednesday, I myself discovered another dead chicken in the barn! This one was eaten by a weasel. Amy and Nate have made the barn more secure and we have not lost anymore birds.
What I find very strange is that without these two chickens, the remaining hens are laying more eggs! One of the killed chickens was low on the pecking order. Did the other hens dislike the dead chicken so much that they did not lay as well as they do now?