The Case of the Dead Chicken

Anyone missing a hen?

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Poor poultry, procured by persistent predator, plopped in my plot.

This afternoon, a hungry fox dragged a hen through my backyard. Some visiting nieces and nephews erupted with excitement from my deck, and rightly startled, the fox left the departed poultry on my lawn. The fox returned to collect its prey, but no doubt heard the thundering stampede of little children. Once more, the fox disappeared. Pizza has been ordered to quiet the children, but I doubt the four-legged fiend will come until dark. . . not even for pizza.

I’m not one to interfere with its appetite. When I was a Boy Scout, I happened across a dead fox in a river. While crossing a log, the animal stepped on a snare, lost its footing, and drowned in the water. Angered that someone killed the creature, I pulled the weighted line out of the river and hoped the carcass would float away. Some time later, the owner of the adjacent farm explained to me that foxes caused all sorts of trouble for his property. Traps were the only way to control the animals. Years later, I had to dwell upon an honest question: should I feel for the farmer or the fox?

Chickens are always on the menu for Mother Nature’s predators. I suppose a fox has got to eat, but the owner of the chicken is now short one bird. The Wife posted the occurrence on a neighborhood web page for the benefit of any concerned parties. I am not inconvenienced in this matter, save for harboring the chicken corpse until such time when owner or fox come to claim it.

There are, of course, other possibilities:

  1. Another animal will claim the chicken.
  2. Two or more animals will fight for the honor of said chicken, using my lawn as a battlefield.
  3. One of the visiting children will substitute pizza for raw poultry. (You never know.)
  4. A breed of super-powerful ants will carry the chicken away for a splendid feast in their colony.
  5. A visiting feather merchant will offer me top dollar for the carcass.
  6. My cat will drag the chicken into the house.
  7. My toddler will drag the chicken into the house.
  8. My Wife will drag the chicken into the house.
  9. After watching a Special Forces survival video, I will attempt to dress and cook my own chicken.

Sometimes, a writer has to face facts: there are times when you’ve done all you can with a dead chicken.

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