Last night I was awoken to the deathly screams of our chickens. And then I woke Joel when I heard more frightened squacking. Something was wrong and I feared a raccoon had gotten one of our chickens. I grabbed a flashlight and handed it to Joel and he shined it out the window to see the ringed tail of a raccoon climbing up the fence. My heart was racing as we put on appropriate clothes to go outside into the howling wind. As we opened the gate to the backyard we saw the raccoon slinking near the compost pile and then up the fence again. We checked the coop and saw only four chickens. The Delaware White was missing but her feathers were everywhere. We looked behind the garage and under the coop then searched the yard. We finally found her behind the compost pile where she lay dead.
I kept hearing the skittering of leaves on the concrete behind us and I was afraid a rabid raccoon was behind us, but it was only my nerves getting the best of me. Joel put the Delaware in a bag and I shined a light on where the raccoon was hiding so that we weren't caught unaware if the raccoon tried any funny stuff (i.e., rabidly jumping out of the tree and attacking us). We closed up the other chickens and irreverently put the Delaware's body bag in the trash can putting a weight on the top so the raccoon couldn't carry her away.
We waited up for about another hour while we settled down and listened to see if the raccoon would open the coop somehow. The worst part was that this was our fault. We didn't close the coop. I thought about it after I put on my pajamas before bed and thought, "They'll be fine, we forget to close it sometime and we haven't had a problem yet." Those were my thoughts. "Yet" isn't good enough and we paid for it. RIP Delaware White.
She is survived by her sister chickens.