There are worse things than being ill..

… dead for example. This morning my Lemsip anti-cold barricades were over-run by man-flu-lite and asthma heavy. At this point I tend to wang the grumpy meter into the red zone, and demand that everyone treats me as a dying swan.

An hour later, I stopped feeling sorry for myself after being informed that a second (of six) chickens has squawked off this mortal coil. The first one we assumed had passed over due entirely to natural causes late last week. Those causes being a ruddy great abscess Ledbury’s finest vet* diagnosed as malignant and fatal.

So sad as it was, not a huge surprise although the suddenness of happily vertical to motionless horizontal gave us pause for thought. Then this morning, our longest serving, largest egg laying, fox surviving proto-hen hailed by all as “Nugget” dropped dead as well.

This after just laying an egg. It’s not a fox because she would have been carted away and the rest killed. Current theory is mink although having only ever seen dead ones worn by posh people, it wasn’t until some lunchtime googling, I had even the slightest inkling of what this chicken-stalker looked like.

Evil I reckon. Nasty little bastards they are by all accounts. The irony of extending the chicken coup but letting them run free is not lost on me. What to do next is. I’m considering using the remnants of the wire to build myself a minx trap. Then inviting my friend round with his mate Mr. Shotgun.

Random is now doubly upset as that’s two chickens in less than a week. We’re not going to attempt repopulating to a strength of six again, until the cause of chicken-gate is fully understood and dealt with. Right now I’m thinking Col Mustard in the Library with a Iron Bar.

And no we’re not eating the dead one. How could you even ask.

* Yes I know you shouldn’t spend£25 at the vet on a£2 chicken. UNLESS they happen to belong to a very teary 9 year old.

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