|The cats and chickens got along great. Thankfully.|
|The flock's king and queen: Derek (the big guy at the left) and Queeny (far right)|
|The twins: Georganna and Henrietta|
Once Derek went the way of all the earth, we picked up another gratuitous rooster. I should have known by the crazy look in the young leghorn's yellow eyes that he'd be a handful. Robbie quickly became infamous for chasing down small children, stalking unsuspecting victims and sparring them from behind. Still, he did his duty watching over the hens and crowed occasionally to make our farm feel a little more quaint.
As long as the girls and Robbie had fresh food and water, hay in their nest boxes and clean bedding, they were content to wander about without much attention. In a way, that was their downfall. Before we noticed that their numbers had been severely reduced, we had less than half the hens we'd started with. Once in a while, a hen died of old age but our flock was beginning to be culled by a clever predator.
Though the hens figured out how to climb a rickety ladder to roost in the rafters for safety, the sneaky fox or weasel figured out how to scare them down. There were never any bodies in the morning--they were just gone. I closed the door at night but it was to no avail. One by one, they disappeared. The morning Robbie didn't crow was the morning we knew he'd met his fate.
And then there were two. Our once flourishing retirement community had been devastated in a matter of weeks. As sad as it was, that's life on a farm. Without a dog to protect them, there was little standing in the way of the mystery killer and a quick meal.