The other night I went out to put the chickens away. We let them wander in the yard in the afternoons, and they find their way back into the coop when it gets dark. There's some trust involved in this relationship; trust and bricks jammed in under the gaps in the fence. Since clipping Ellen and Portia's wings, things have been calm when we let the girls out to roam. They peck and scratch, they take dust baths in the dirt, they hide under the huge weeping maple (the clubhouse), they dig in the compost. Life is good. On the particular night in question, I poked my head into the coop and counted. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. It was getting dark. I counted again. Seven. Damn. Where was Ingrid? Her favorite snack is cracked corn (scratch). I shook the plastic tub of scratch and called out to her. She usually comes running. Still no Ingrid.
I never thought this would happen in the city. Okay, that's inexperience talking, and I feel ridiculous now that I've said it, but it's true. When you live in the city, you forget that there are other animals around, not just the ones you raise in a wire-mesh-enclosed coop. We've had cougars and coyotes spotted in our neighborhood. Cats go missing sometimes. Even the alley cats are a little feral. Coutryside and mountain foothills are really only spitting distance over the highway 2 tressle, so it shouldn't be a shock to think that a hawk, eagle, or owl could snatch one of our beloved hens right out of the yard.
Do you miss Ingrid, too? Rest assured, faithful blog readers, she's not actualy gone. But I'll give you ten guesses as to where she scampered off to.