My husband tells me on the telephone, while I am 900-miles away in New Jersey, that hey, something got in the coop and got a bird.
“Feathers everywhere,” he said.
We were down to three guineas, from the original 12, plus two babies who hatched last July. (They’ve passed on with the help of cars and unknown wildlife with fangs, plus I gave four insane ones away.)
When I got home Friday, one more was gone.
Something learned how to unlatch the pen door. That Something — probably a raccoon — has been at it for months. It was able to pull away a huge, long piece of 2×4 that I used to secure the pen. I also propped a small tree branch up against the latch and little by little the bark was scratched away as Something scratched and scratched in a futile attempt to devour my hens.
Not so futile, after all.
Saturday night, another became a midnight snack for Something.
Sunday, we had one lonely bird. My heart broke. They’re flock animals and being alone is the last thing they want.
“I gave the bird extra millet and left the coop door open,” I told my husband.
“So, you basically foie grased him?”
“Yes. Lucky, Something.”
The bird was gone in the morning.
My coop looks like a crime scene. Feathers everywhere. Fortunately, no bird bits.
I miss my birds, their loud call. Loud as a snow-blower. My husband hated them, despite their tick-eating habit. I didn’t mind how loud they were. I grew up with Cubans. They provided breathing room, a reason to walk outside even in the coldest weather, they provided fresh eggs and provided hilarity too. They were not smart, but they were fun. And beautifully odd.
Can’t say, though, that I miss trying to round them up at night, nor do I miss pissing off the neighbor when they flocked to his lawn.
A friend asked if we’d use the coop for chickens now. No, not at the moment. Not ready to provide more all-you-can-eat midnight buffets for fanged critters.
And, as Maria pointed out, I clean up enough poop around here already.