Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Sunday, March 16 – No chickens

I am really upset today. I went out first thing this morning to feed the hens and found they had all gone. It was my own fault as I had forgotten to shut the hen house door last night, but the gate to the run was still closed and nothing had dug under the high wire fence.

When I saw the run was empty, I looked all around inside the hen house, thinking at first that they could all be laying, although they are usually eagerly pecking to get out and have breakfast. But there was not a feather to be found.

It seems very strange, but I have heard stories of mink climbing into runs and killing the hens then taking them out one by one. It certainly isn’t the work of a fox as they would kill the whole flock and only eat or take what they needed immediately. The last time a fox broke into the run I discovered six hens dead and two dying. I loaded the bodies into the wheelbarrow and threw them into the field, where the foxes probably ate them all later at their leisure. If that happened now, in these difficult times, I wouldn’t let the foxes have the dead hens, I’d keep them for ourselves.

But I’m most annoyed about the loss of the eggs. The hens had been laying so well recently and the eggs were most welcome, even though we can find extra supplies in the village once a week. I will have to make enquiries about getting more hens and also be less careless in shutting them up at night.

And then, after this disastrous discovery, we went to church to contemplate Lent, which is particularly difficult this year as we have already lost so much. There is not much more we can deny ourselves during this challenging time. The theme of the sermon was ‘counting our blessings’, which I am trying to do but am finding very hard now the hens have gone.

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