It had been a strange night anyway. Clyde, our male cat, jumped up on the bed earlier and meowed continuously as he walked all over us. Clyde never does this; he's an outside boy and rarely comes in at night. And he despises being petted usually. Last night he wanted stroked, he wanted scratched, he wanted to curl up right against me. And because his behavior was so unusual I let him. I am not a pets-in-the-bed person; it disturbs my sleep and I wake up sore and cramped. But this was an unusual situation.
It was just a little while later that the ruckus in the coop began. Larry jumped up, grabbed a light and his shoes and headed down the hill to investigate. Nothing. There were two hens out in the chicken yard because he had not closed up the coop as he usually does. But other than that there was nothing out of the ordinary--except for two eyes up in a tree, watching him. The birds were highly disturbed, however, so something was going on. He put the two hens in the coop and closed it up tight.
An hour later, another racket arose. Hens sqawking, flapping, the rooster crowing repeatedly. If you have chickens you know the kind of noise I mean. Then there was one long, drawn-out wail from a hen, a sound I've come to recognize as "I'm being dragged over the hill, help! Help!" Once again Larry took off, this time taking the .22. And once again, nothing. All hens accounted for. But they were upset and chattering like crazy.
We tried to settle down to sleep again; it was 4:00am after all. Both cats jumped up on the bed. Both are supposed to be outside, you know, but Charlie in particular doesn't recognize my ruling in this matter. They curled up against me, leaving me no leg room and no possibility of changing positions. The rest of the night was not restful but at least the hens were quiet.
So what happened down there in the coop? I think it might have been a raccoon coming for a late night snack. We've had some hanging around because of the corn and perhaps they thought a side of chicken would be tasty. We may never know, but one thing is certain--the coop will be secured tonight.
And the cats will be outside and the doors closed. This old lady needs her sleep.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.