My heart is breaking a little bit this morning.
Our routine around here is to let the chickens out from the hen house into the coop so that they can eat and get water in there before we let them out for the day.
Usually, by the time we're ready to let them out into the yard, Elvis is crowing and waiting at the door and is always the first one out. Today, he did not want to leave the hen house. He stood in the doorway and looked around and then kept turning back. The young hens did come out to peck at the scratch I threw them but he just didn't want to and the old hens didn't want to leave the hen house either.
I went and got a few Cheerios and threw them outside the door and the old hens carefully ventured out but he stayed inside and made his "danger" noise and all of the hens rushed back inside or took cover in the nearby thickets. And he stayed in.
I watched for a little while and he did finally come out but instead of stopping for scratch and calling the hens to join him, headed into the thicket himself which is not his usual pattern of behavior at all.
Does he know that one of his hens is gone?
It surely seems as if he does.
And all of this reminds me that we need to raise up another rooster and I doubt that ever in this world will we find a rooster as smart and brave and bold and gentle as our Elvis.