Mr. Bear and I have been out-of-state, visiting his family, and some dear friends have been living at our place, taking care of the animals in our absence.
Sadly, they informed us Sunday evening, that we had lost Ruth to predation.
She was a good alpha hen. She defended the girls against whatever it was that killed Rosie back in June.
We think a hawk got after Ruth this time. Our friends spotted a large hawk hanging around the yard, up in the cherry tree. Marie's wing was wounded, and she and Ada have been cowering inside the coop, Ada shielding Marie.
So, our flock is down to two. We are very sad, and Mr. Bear plans on building an enclosed run when we return home.
Our two casualties.
I don't expect we'll be adding to the flock anytime soon. We're probably going to be moving in the coming months, and I'm not sure whether or not we'll be able to keep chickens where we end up.
Our hens are pets, and we mourn them, though we went into this knowing that chickens are not long-lived, and succumb to disease and predation with alarming regularity. It's the price paid for loving an animal.