I knew something was amiss when I went out about 6:00 p.m. to bring the girls in from the donkey pasture. They had been allowed their usual two hours of freedom within the confines of donkey fencing. Usually when they see me arrive at the gate they all come running at a little chicken gallop. Not that day. They were all clustered together, with even the neighbor guinea hen across the fence from them. At that point I wasn't terribly concerned, just thought it odd. Then I called the girls in my chicken tone of voice. Nothing. Now was the time to say, "Oh crap, something is really wrong."
Finally after continued calling, five girls came in from the pasture and they got tucked in for the night. Reluctantly I walked to that spot in the pasture and there was Dottie. Mauled by a predator.
Even in the short time we had had her, Dottie was clearly turning into an adventurer (as had been Golda, who also died at the hands of a fox last summer). Always the last to come into the coop; there were too many interesting things to explore in the dirt, as well as rummage around in donkey manure.
The other girls were very subdued for roughly two days. No one wanted to leave the coop, no one wanted to go into the protected chicken run.
So don't tell me chickens are dumb. They knew something was wrong and they needed to hunker down to stay safe.
Now, however, things are back to normal and they want to slip through any gate available.
Thank you for adding to the beauty of our little world, if only briefly, Dottie.