Live to Tell

April 10, 2012

An incredible, unbelievable thing happened at our house this morning. We were in the midst of our morning routine, getting ready for work. Luke hollered out to me that something had happened, that there were chicken feathers all over our backyard! I ran out of our room and looked out at the lawn and sure enough there were feathers from our chickens all over the place. I saw Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock feathers and knew more than one chicken had been attacked.  I felt sick and panicked.

Luke ran outside ahead of me and saw a fox right near our back deck run off with our rooster Ruby in it’s mouth.  I ran out second and chased the fox through our back field.  I was running, and crying, and yelling.  It was awful, and there was nothing I could do, the fox had taken off.  When I got back to the barn I asked Luke how many chickens were still there. 3 of our 5 hens were alive, but one was injured.  We had lost 2 hens and Ruby, our rooster.  We were shaken. Our injured girl didn’t seem to have obvious major injuries and she ate when I sprinkled corn on the ground for them in their coop.  I could only imagine what they had seen and what was going on in their heads.

So many things were going through my head.  Lots of what-ifs.  I felt terrible and so did Luke.  It was a moment of trauma and a reality of keeping chickens that we hadn’t yet encountered.  We had to lock up our hens and get to work.  How do you do that after something like this?  After Luke left I was walking out to my car in the front yard and happened to look across our driveway to see the missing 2 hens pop out from behind some low pine trees.  Unbelievable!  I ran over to them and coaxed them out from hiding and got them back down to the barn with the other hens.  It was just incredible!  I couldn’t believe it.  Even though we had lost Ruby {our valiant rooster who laid down his life for his hens} we still had most of our flock. Talk about shaken nerves!

An hour or so later Luke told me he was headed home from work, he wanted to check on things.  We were feeling heartsick and worried that the fox would come back to bother the hens.  When Luke called me a little bit later he asked, “Guess who is standing in the middle of our driveway?” I imagined a bold fox was back for more.  “Ruby,” he said. Ever hear anything that was both mind boggling AND beyond wonderful? I was stupified.  Say what?! Luke explained that Ruby seemed ok, he looked and was acting fine, considering he’d been in the mouth of a running fox.

Later in the morning Ruby took his hens out to the compost pile {with Luke supervising} and they went about their usual task of scratching at scraps while he kept lookout.

I’ve never felt more proud of or astonished by an animal.  These chickens that we are so fond of and who color our days, are a band of toughies, not to be messed with, who can overcome a sly fox, take a beating, and give one.  Some of them have truly ruffled feathers, but they are ALL alive.  They live to tell.

The bravest, scrappiest, most valiant rooster around these parts: Ruby!

When we looked over the photos from our trail camera we saw lots of mug shots of this guy creeping around our field:

I suppose he lives to tell, too.

One Response to “Live to Tell”

  1. Philip Marshall Says:

    Probably the fox brought the rooster home to its young for training and the rooster got away. 9 lives? 8 left.

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