When I went out about 10 o'clock this morning, the other three hens were in their nests, not greeting me, running about, waiting for their food. After I opened the pen, they just looked at me. When I put the food down, they just sat and looked about, still in their boxes. I knew they were frightened.
I kept encouraging them to get their food. Finally, one at a time they all flew down. Usually they attack their food, especially corn. Today, they just walked around, looking beyond their pen. They walked slowly and cautiously, head up and moving slowly. They were still frightened.
As I slowly made my way back around to the door, I looked everywhere. Walking past the door to the front yard, I looked under the big bushes where they like to hang out. Not a chicken in sight. No Ethel. Finally, I sat on the bench in the front yard. The day was pleasant, new, and sort of warm, even under the coolness of the trees.
Walking down the side yard where I rarely go, I made my way to the hen's pen. There she was, lying on her side. I put the picture last so that you don't have to look at it if you don't want to.
Ethel joins Chessie and Fancy and Pepper
It's all my fault. I should have searched for her even though my back and knee were just killing me. She was heading back to the pen, so I know the other hens witnessed her massacre. Do your chickens seem to get depressed when they witness another die?
She was bitten above her tail and her head was bitten off. I suspect this was NOT a raccoon. Poor little thing.