There were feathers wafting about in front of the house today - not a good sign. I did a chicken roll call and Flopsy, one of our Buff Orpingtons, was missing. Further investigation turned up a half-eaten chicken carcass over in the neighbor's yard. From the evidence, the most likely suspect is the bobcat that's been seen here and there around the neighborhood lately. Darn! From the looks of our egg take today, it appears she was the one laying the really big round egg (bottom left, below) each day, too.
We usually let the chickens have the run of the whole yard during the winter. They're my organic, integrated pest control patrol. They're pretty good about staying within the fence, for the most part, but I had noticed a couple them were venturing outside the fence more and more often lately. It looks like it's time to confine them to their pen. It was about time to do so anyway - once the growing season sets in, their incessant scratching and dust bathing gets too destructive. They never like it, but now, it's for their own protection too.
I think I might have to start keeping my camera close by, especially the couple of hours just after sunrise and just before sunset. I'd love to get a photo of that cat. I just hope he stays outside the fence.