Around 1 a.m. when Mountaingdad came to bed, he awoke me and said, “I think one of your chickens is out, I just heard it right below our room.” Mind you that the nearest coop is a football field away from our room and on the east end of the house, our window on the south. Being awakened, my response was “Oh well, I can’t do anything about it in the middle of the night.”
By then I was awake and in light of our recent predator attacks and losses, I put on some pants and a t shirt, grabbed a flashlight, added muck boots in the garage and ventured out into the night to assess the situation. The coop with Broody Hen 5, Momma Hen 2 and her 3 babies, Momma Hen 1 and her two almost 6 week old chicks, the laying hens and Romeo were all snug and tight inside, the egg door latched, the pop door latched and the human door secure. That only left the new cull coop, AKA, the Chicken Palace which is at the other end of the garden and only marginally secured with chicken wire and hardware cloth until we can finish hanging the leftover metal roofing material to the ground. The chicken wire is stapled with long staples to the nailers, the corner posts and to provide more security, folded out about a foot and stapled to old cedar fence posts to hold it to the ground. Upon shining my light back there, I saw a hen on the ground right by the door, not a good sign as they were perched on the highest rung of one of the ladders when I went to bed. Midnight, the randy Americauna cockrell was on a lower rung on the other ladder by himself at bedtime.
The Chicken Palace check showed both hens alive and well, but on the ground and Midnight missing and this hole in the corner of the coop.
I figured that a coyote or fox had made a meal of Midnight or carried him off to be a meal for kits or pups. I grabbed the two hens and returned them to the secure coop for the night and headed back into the house.
By now, sleep is lost. I had had a 3 hour nap before being awakened, so I relocated to the loft with my book and finished reading it, ending it around quarter to 5. I returned to bed with little hope of sleep, but dozed off in time to hear SIL’s alarm go off and then go off again later, then him quietly preparing his lunch in the kitchen. After he left, I did go back to sleep for a couple of hours. When I got up to deal with animal chores and feed granddaughter her breakfast, I discovered a wet bedraggled Midnight outside the chicken run fence. I don’t want him back in with the hens, but I don’t know what I can do to secure the Chicken Palace in the rain today to put him back in there. At least whatever came for a meal last night, left hungry and we aren’t out yet another chick or chicken, the restaurant is closed.