We tend to "create" our best moments on social media, portaying a false image or reality, a grotesque distortion of our lives, and very often dismiss the moments that aren't as fun. This is our blockchain, so we all try to create a place a bit more honest, candid, without dumping my sorrows on your of course.
Today; something terrible happened on the farm.
I woke up sick with the flu, and didn't pay too much attention of the chicken, I think I was still quite drowsy and decided to stay in bed a bit longer. The flu wasn't the terrible thing, bear with me...
My wife opened for the dogs, and started her shift at work. While staring at the mountains through the windows, I see that the chicken seem to be lifeless. "Are they sleeping?" is my first reaction.
As very often in this situation, it takes a little bit of time for the brain to process what's going on, I decide to get closer to find out what happened.
It wasn't something that I wanted to see. It's been an ongoing occurrence since last year, everybody has been victims of foxes attacks, everybody except us.
For the first time, the hens could spend a good night of sleep, without being bullied by the rooster that we gave to our friend @rubido to cook, and that's the night the fox decided to attack.
Smart, cunning creatures waited for the right moment to strike. I really thought the door was properly secured, I am trying to rewind and think of all my routine yesterday night before going to bed.
Filling up the bowl with fresh water, closing the fence, closing the coop door, securing the door with the metal bar...Did I secure the door? Was it all my fault?
I still don't understand how it happened. Charlie was outside, he would have heard a fox, right? There were one moment when he came to scratch at the door, as he was getting cold outside, I let him in.
Was is at that moment that the fox stroke?
Out of 6 chicken, I could only find 4 bodies. My first 2 bare-necks, Angela and Noodles, dead with one shot. They were the juiciest of the crew, it must have been an easy kill in the dark for a cunning fox.
I find Eagle and Thorn inside the coop, same fate. This is getting nasty, nature doesn't mess around one bit. You can sugar-coat it as much as you want, one wrong move and you die out there. Why can't I find Ninja and Mozza?
How in hell? This is mozza!
She must have found a place to hide during the night. For those that followed my blog, she was the one that didn't get along with the rest of the flock, and ran away. It's probably what saved her, I guess it's a good thing to be a little bit different sometimes.
We called her Mozza, it stands for "Mots Am Ai" in Sotho which means "the one that walks", or in that case "the one that escaped". She must have a true survivor spirit, she looks ok, maybe a little scratch on her chest, but nothing lethal.
I am wondering if Ninja could have escaped too? She was faster than all the others after all. She was also still bearing a wound on the back of her head from that nasty rooster, which would have made her an easy target.
I am still hoping for a miracle.
It started 2 hours later. The buzzard sound, meaning that they have found something to scavenge. They start circling above a very specific location, I decide to come close to check what's happening, I of course have a strange feeling about this, but I have to make sure.
The first sign of a fight, it's quite far from the coop. Did the fox chased her down there?
Of course I found her, not far from where the circling buzzard, that quickly dispersed. The kill must have happened in the middle of the night, this isn't recent.
Ninja must have been the main meal, all the other were just killed for sport. Truth is, I know it will happen again, nature is like clockwork, there are some constants out there, foxes attacking hens when the days are getting shorter, is one of these constants.
It will probably get worse once we hit the coldest days of winter, when there is nothing else to eat for predators.
We will have to rebuild a stronger fence, and make sure the door cannot be opened at all cost. I can't help but thinking that it could have been avoided, but at the same time we've been so lucky until now, our neighbour lost 20 chickens all at once, so having one that survived is a small consolation, but it's something.
I decided to dig a resting place for Ninja, I took care of her for a while, tried to heal her, make sure she had a good life, and we bonded, it makes sense I would like to guide her in the next realm.
People can think it's just a chicken. They are pretty smart creatures, I don't think it's far fetched to imagine that they understand in some way.
While I led Mozza back to the fenced area, I made sure that almost all the feathers from her friends were gone, and while I was picking the last feathers, I could feel tears running on my cheeks. "They're stupid fucking chickens, right?" I thought for a minute.
Mozza came next to me, and I think she looked at me as if she understood that I felt sorry for her specie.
Man, it ain't fun to be a chicken, I really hope they can be something else in their next lives, anything but a fox though.
I just made a little shrine for Ninja, nothing fancy, this is where her body rests, and where it will be returned to the ground.
We told the truth to the kids. I was a bit anxious at first, we could have very well make up a story like we did with the rooster, but this is different.
My daughter's reaction was probably my favourite though:
Dad, does it mean that we need to buy eggs now?
Ok, they seem to take it better than I do 😄