Last night we were a little late in checking the girls were in bed so by the time we got out to the yard, we found three of four of them huddled under the tarp next to the coop. Normally they put themselves to bed but the door had closed so they weren't able to get themselves into their warm, dry, nesting boxes. This began the late-night search of the yard. That was when we came across the first sign that something wasn't quite right.
We searched under trees and shrubs, in the cubby, we even tried looking in very understanding neighbours' backyards. The anxiety levels were getting higher and higher as the minutes went on. After about half an hour, there was nowhere left to look. We decided that something untoward had happened. Many tears were shed and appetites had disappeared by the time we all cuddled together on the lounge.
It took a while for everyone to get to sleep with all the 'what ifs' and thinking through the possibilities of what had happened to Ruffle. The events of Mrs Bok kept running through my mind.
During the night there were a few games of musical beds as people woke from restless sleeps.
I was first awake this morning so thought I should probably check the yard before either of the kiddoes ventured out there. The last thing I wanted them to find was part of a chicken, or one of the other girls dead from the fright of whatever had happened the night before.
I opened the back door and headed out to the yard to find a gorgeous white chicken pacing the wrong side of the fence, wanting to get back in with the girls. I picked her up and brought her back into the house to show the waking children that we still had a flock of four. Everyone squealed with delight to see her in one piece.
Ruffle watching over the rest of the girls.
Our theory about the feathers in the yard is that a dove fell victim to a cat, and that spooked the chickens. We have no idea where she got through the fence but will be doing another wander around looking for any gaps.
We are all so relieved that there has been a happy ending to this.