Poor little Jack cannot catch a break. A few weeks ago his beautiful plumage and his ability to walk were greatly diminished when a dog attacked him and killed several of his Mables. He hobbles around on one leg resolutely maintaining his top of the pecking order status. My heart goes out to him.
Two days ago I glanced out the window in response to the "chicken alarm" and a brazen HUGE coyote was in the barn lot. Earlier it had been storming so I had kept an eye on Jack to make sure he got in out of the weather and had watched him go into the barn... now ten feet from the coyote. I ran toward the back door, slipped on my shoes and grabbed my gun; Cassie hot on my heels. She now jumps up and looks out the window anytime she hears the chicken alarm. I flew out the door yelling like a crazy person. Wiley Coyote had grabbed Jack but upon seeing a deranged and demented farmgirl brandishing a weapon he dropped Jack and took off toward the woods. Jack furiously flapped his wings and hopped as fast as his one leg could carry him into the yard toward me. I fired a shot for good measure knowing there was no hope of hitting the would-be chicken killer but wanting to send a message. Chicken thieves shot on sight; questions later.
The next morning Jack wouldn't come out for breakfast until mid-day; I expect he was feeling the pain of the mauling. But, this morning he hopped out to eat with the others. He's short a few (ok a lot) more feathers, but seems to be ok. I've opened up the brooder house so he can bed down easier and his three remaining Mables and one Tilly sleep with him at night; the rest of the chickens go into the big chicken house.
Yesterday Wiley came out of the gardens which is quite a ways from the main chicken hang-out area around the chicken houses and pens. Again, I fired a warning shot to keep him his distance. As I have mentioned before, this is one of the perils of true free ranging so I will continue to stand guard over my flock. Farmboy Gary built a great pen for them around the chicken houses, so when I leave I put them in their pen; otherwise they are out catching worms, bugs and foraging herbs and other greens. It's the stuff good, no GREAT eggs are made of.