Marigold was killed today, we think by a stray cat.
I had to be at work today for an event, and since Dan and I hadn't seen much of one another this week, he decided to come to campus with me and work on a project for his grad school class while I worked my event. We had seen a stray cat lurking by the birdfeeders, but we never worried about the hens, as we had in the past seen them scare off a cat foolish enough to jump into the fenced-in area. We never thought about one of the chickens escaping alone.
We left the house at about 10:30, and arrived home at about 4 pm. Upon arriving home, we went out to see the Girls. Dan went ahead and worriedly called to me, "We're missing a chicken!" I hurried back with some spinach in hand, calling for the chickens. I gave the spinach to the Girls in their fence, calling for Marigold. Dan was headed for the tulip bed when I noticed some feathers.
Dan followed a trail of feathers onto the neighbors overgrown backyard, with me close behind. He found poor Marigold lying dead, eyes closed. She was missing a few feathers and had some gouges, but had no major visible injuries, so we can only surmise it was a broken neck. She must have flown over the fence and alone, was prey to the cat, where the Girls together are too much for a cat. It is a very sad night here at Henbogle, Marigold was the prettiest of the chickens, with lovely orangey feathers and a beautiful comb. I hope she didn't suffer too much.