It happened again. The Henni Penni killer returned last night and took Woebegone. Not literally, but it killed him.
It was easier, in some ways, this time, to find the aftermath. Woebegone was so very old (13ish) and he couldn't walk much, only hobbilty-hop from resting place to resting place. Most people would have put him down already, but he was so happy with Henni, who gave him purpose, and provoked sun-worshiping crows from him on a regular basis. Since finding Henni yesterday, he was subdued, withdrawn. I don't know if it was simply the sudden unexpected solitude, or if he possessed some sense of failure at having been unable to protect her. After all, Woebegone was a battle-ax of a rooster, who once tore a spur clean off fighting with a cat (who was just examining them, not stalking) through the fence of the chicken pen.
He was sleeping when it happened last night, and these days, he slept with the sort of utter detachment reserved for the very young, and the very old. There is no indication that he suffered. He was, I suspect, glad to meet Lord Death, just as most warriors of legend are, choosing that over a continued half-life of crippled existence. The wee chick who couldn't even get out of his own egg without help did, in the end live longer than any of his contemporaries.
I plan on setting a trap tonight, and if I'm successful in catching the chicken killer, I suspect that it will meet a similar fate itself. Not out of revenge. I don't begrudge anything the right to live, but out of protection of the other animals I look after. Whatever this animal is (raccoon/weasel/opossum(doubtful)) it's been here three nights, leaving the tray I feed the ferals on in disarray the first night, killing Henni the second, and killing Woebegone the third. The only thing left for it to do is get into the outside cat cage (where there is a supply of dry food in their bowl) and possibly harm or kill one of the cats, if they fight. I don't intend to let that happen.
Will post results, if and when there are any.