|Yes. That is a massive pile of chicken feathers.|
And this (and a lot more of the same, but you get the drift):
|Seriously. Doesn't that look like a whole chicken?|
Needless to say I panicked. I ran into the chicken house crying and begging the chickens to be alive. Seven out of eleven chickens were sitting on the roost.
I ran back outside and started trying to track the chickens down. I found a white hen bleeding and defeathered curled up in a pile of grass. There was a caramel colored hen missing side feathers wedged between two round bales. One hen, another red had wedged her head behind a square bale and her slightly less fluffy butt was still clearly visible from the barn door. There was only one chicken missing. Black Bart the banty rooster.
I ran all over with a flashlight, crying, and searching to no avail. I beat myself up the entire night about how scared he must be. He had to be cold and alone and hurting! There were enough feathers out there to stuff a pillow! He was probably dead, but I couldn't give up hope. After all, each hen had lost a lot of feathers and they were traumatized, but alive.
The next morning Cogburn the rooster crowed, and echoing from across the paddocks was Bart's reply. He was alive! Dad and I raced towards him from different ends of the paddock, but General the beagle decided to give chase faster than either of us could keep up. He chased Bart back into the woods. Moments stretched into minutes as we searched high and low for that little black rooster. Suddenly dad shouted. He had found him! All that was visible from between the gnarled roots of a fallen tree was a tiny bit of red comb. Bart had one heck of a hiding spot! I dug him out and returned him home.
I am happy to report that the chickens are all recovering; albeit funnier looking now (Just look at poor Bart! He looks like half a chicken!), and they no longer beg to be let outside their run.