It's dark when we do chores now, morning and evening. Sometimes I carry a flashlight with me, but usually do not.
This morning, I was bringing a bucket to the llama trough, which is now getting topped off in the colder weather, and won't be dumped and cleaned for a while. As I came close to the fence to pour the bucket, I became aware of many feathers on the ground. Whole clumps. My heart sank.
I did not do chores last night, except for checking water in the little henhouse and big. Keith locked up, and as he does not know who sleeps where, or who is whom except for a few of the older birds, does not really notice them. I picked up some of the feathers, and knew it had to be from one of the grey or black birds. These are descendants of Fred, our Japanese Bantam rooster. One, Two, Three, Four, Studley, Butch, Rosewitha and Dovie, the little grey hens. There are two other bantam hens, Nanny and Clucky, but these feathers were suspiciously grey. I knew they were not Butch's, who despite being Fred's son, is all white, and safe in the feed room. I went into the big henhouse and counted, and then to be sure, went around to the little, and checked there.
About two months ago, Rambo began beating the poop out of Studley. As soon as he came down from the roosts in the morning, Rambo would sail into him, and Studley would come dashing out of the Big Henhouse, and over to the little. In a few seconds, Ratchett would come running out of the Little Henhouse, and out into the yard, and Studley would mentally wipe his palms together and put his fists on his chicken hips, and give a resounding "Huh!".
Ratchett and Ruffles, his son, would spend the day outside, only going in when they were sure that Studley had gone to roost in the Big Henhouse. When he did sleep in the little, they all roosted together companionably, but in the morning, the two smaller roosters were quick to leave.
Now no Studley, so the little roosters are at rest.
We think Lilly got him, when either Tony chased him and he flew over the fence to get away, or Rambo took a run at him and the same happened. He fought, because his feathers are up and down the fence line for a good 100 feet. No body, at least not that we have found in the dark.
Lilly can't help herself, and she WILL put them down if we are here to tell her to.
So, we are down a rooster. I know most think that is a good thing, but I liked the plucky little guy and will miss him.
Studley and Ruffles