Another Backyard Coop Mystery

Nov 15, 2021 | 0 comments

Last night — or more like yesterday afternoon — I actually remembered to go tuck the girls in while it was still light enough to see who was doing what. It was just 4:30 but it was definitely beyond twilight or gloaming.  Full dark (or Big Dark as it is known here) was soon to descend.

I followed my usual goodnight routine — removed their hanging food dispenser from the coop and shone my flashlight toward the roost.  All three were there, but not yet completely settled, and each of them cooed and clucked and wished me good night.  I then closed and latched the  doors, checked the nest boxes for eggs (grumbling “why bother”, I’m sure) and made certain the gate to the run was securely fastened — a no brainer at this time of year when the rain and wet swells the wood to close-tight proportions for the season.   But knowing the raccoons are ever-present an  more-than-ever crafty, I double-checked the parameters and then took their food container up to the house for the night.

This morning it was growing light as I headed out, food container in one hand, can of scratch (grapes and stale bread today) in the other.  I paused for a moment to watch our pear tree sway in the wind.  Scary.  I wonder if it will make through the winter intact.  And, suddenly, I heard the clucking and muttering of the girls coming out from under the house!  What the heck?

We hurried down to the coop together.  All was as I had left it last night — no gates or doors open; no ramparts breeched.  But the girls were out.  With me.  And clattering for food!  Once I got them snugged in with plenty of food and water for the day, I did a walkabout, first one way and then another.  I saw nothing untoward.  No exit or entry points.  No clues.

I truly hope it was Mrs. Crouch — or even her husband, the unrighteous reverend.  That seems a far better alternative than a bear with opposable thumbs or a pranky neighbor.  Even more disconcerting, Farmer Nyel remains silent on the issue.  As do the chickens.



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