Not to beat about the bush, a fox took all our chickens. Yes, ALL five of them, the four ex-commercial hens and our original white hen Yoko. In one night. Without eating any of them. Just lined them up neatly and disappeared.
We were devastated. Two of us cried our eyes out at the sheer brutality of it and at our own part in the situation. One of us momentarily reversed her position on fox hunting.
For various reasons Husband had left the door of the chicken house open that night. Despite the gate of the supposedly fox-proof chicken coop being shut and the fact that we have only twice in five years seen evidence of foxes in what is a small, town-centre allotment site surrounded by roads, this fox persisted and clawed through the chicken wire.
Poor chickens. The only consolation is that Yoko had a good life of at least five years, and the ex-commercial hens had a longer and happier life than many other commercial hens.
We are going to give the land a rest for now, and maybe resume chicken-keeping again some time in the future.