It was a terrorist attack like none I’ve ever experienced.
Yesterday morning, my friend, George, phoned me to tell me some bad news. When he had gone down to the henhouse to feed the hens, he found dead chickens strewed all over the lower pasture and in the henhouse. Feathers were blowing in the wind everywhere. When he began picking up the carnage, he discovered that most of them were intact except for their heads. Whatever had killed them had done it for the sport of killing, not for food. The total count of chickens who had been killed was 21, including the one rooster. The fifteen survivors were traumatized and jittery. George said that they didn’t flock to him when he took them their morning feed, but ran away from him.
“What about Grace?” I asked him hesitantly, thinking about the little hen that meant so much to us.
George paused a few seconds, and then said, “Grace didn’t make it. I was hoping she was ok, but then I saw the green leg tag. I didn’t want to have to tell you this.”
My eyes filled with tears as I thought of my special little hen, the one who taught me so much about grace and gratitude last summer. I couldn’t stand the thought of her being terrorized and running for her life from some unknown terrorist predator. My heart was broken, not only for her, but for the others who had died that night.
He told me that it looked like the hens had been running everywhere, trying to escape whatever it was that was after them. He found bodies in the henhouse, out on the woodpile, near the barn, and in the pasture. None had been mutilated or eaten, other than some of them missing their heads.
There were no eggs yesterday. The remaining hens were recovering from the night of terror. George gathered them up last night and put them in an enclosed stall in the barn where he had kept the baby chickens last spring until they were big enough to join the flock. He knew they would be safe there.
This morning, we were greeted by clucking coming from the barn, and when I went into the stall, there were eight eggs in the nests. It was as if nothing had happened. Life goes on, even for hens.
As I walked across the pasture, looking at the feathers littered everywhere as a reminder of what had happened, I thought about how senseless this was. These animals weren’t looking for food. They weren’t hungry. They were just plain mean, wanting to do nothing more than kill for the sport of killing, attacking in the dark of night, and then moving on, leaving only death and destruction in their path. It reminded me of the human terrorist attacks that have been happening around the world, and it made me sick. To me, there seemed to be no difference between these animals and the human animals who kill other people for no good reason at all.
I don’t understand it, but then there are lots of things about life and living in this world that I don’t understand. One could say that it is nature’s way in regard to the animal terrorist behavior, but I can’t accept it as an excuse for people doing terrible things to other people. Terrorism isn’t nature’s way for us as God’s children. Animals don’t know any better.
But we should.