I am a pretty level-headed person. I have a fairly long fuse, I think. I don't go looking for conflict.
So when I heard R shout and run outside, calling Sam to join her, I was surprised at the change that I underwent when I ran out to see the cause of her yelling. I caught the words "a fox!" and ran outside. Piles of feathers dotted the lawn, and hens lay in the piles, not moving. "No, no, no," I kept saying as I ran across the grass. One of the hens moved as I went to her and realized she wouldn't make it. I had to make it quick for her and gritted my teeth, apologized to her, and did it. One more was found on the driveway, one in the garden by the house. By. The. House. She was breathing very badly when we got to her, and died while I held her. Three hens, gone like that, with no attempt to eat them. Just killed, then on to the next one.
I wanted nothing more than that fox viewed through the sights of a gun and hoped to chase, but of course it knew playtime was over when Sam entered the scene and made a quick getaway. I have not felt so furious for a long, long time. Anger at the fox (and concern: in daylight? Within the circle of the house and barns? Just killing, not taking away to eat? Too bold, much to bold for my liking) and anger at myself. We'd kept them in the run lately after two hadn't returned, and I thought a little time out for an hour or so couldn't hurt them as they'd stay close to the buildings. Wrong.
The five survivors were rounded up, though one of them isn't looking too good and I don't expect her to make it through the night. Two are unaccounted for. I know it's a part of farm life. It's a part I don't really like.