The last couple of days have been eventful for some of our hens. We let them out of the chicken yard in the morning and let them wander all over the farm. Up until recently, the only problem we have encountered has been damage to Renee’s sheet mulching. The hens love to tear up the cardboard while they look for grubs and worms to eat. The hens wander back to the chicken coop by twilight and my routine is to go out after dark and shut the chicken yard gates and latch the hen house door.

Tuesday evening I was out in the “stone fruit” orchard and heard some odd noises, I turned around and saw three hens sitting on top of a weed pile. I guess that they couldn’t figure out how to get out of the orchard (all the orchards and gardens are fenced to keep out the deer). Renee and I grabbed them and brought them back to the hen house. We then decided to count them to see if there were any other girls missing. It turns out that we were two short, one Ameraucana and one Delaware were still missing. Since we don’t count them every day, they could have been missing for a day or two and we would not have noticed, but now that we were aware, we started looking for them. Unfortunately, we came up empty.

Late Wednesday morning, after I returned from dropping off some tomato plants at a friend’s house, we were getting the car ready for Renee so that she could drive down to visit her mom. I opened the trunk to make sure that it was empty and to Renee and my surprise, there was the missing Ameraucana! She seemed no worse for wear, but she was glad to get out of the trunk. As Renee was cleaning up the mess left behind, she gave a little laugh and pulled out an egg! When the car stops running, I guess we can use it as a chicken coop.

I kept looking for the missing Delaware, but no luck. Hopefully it has wandered over to a neighbor’s and will come home in a day or so, but something happened last evening that makes me a bit pessimistic. I was sitting on a stump that is located under some oaks outside our front door, and was watching the hens as they were finishing up their foraging.

After a bit, I noticed that the hens were getting louder and more agitated. Suddenly a hen came running out from behind a shed and right behind her was a fox! I immediately stood up and yelled, and the fox made a quick course change to the left. It was gone before I could take more than a step or two, but I was glad that it did not catch the hen. It’s coat was similar in color to our golden retreiver Chief’s. Although Nathan and Renee have both seen foxes on the property, this was the first time I have seen one here. I now wonder if that fox was responsible for our missing Delaware. I would not be surprised.