I was in my study talking on the phone when our three chickens started up a mass alarm and I noticed a fox grappling with one of them in our small low walled front garden.
Moving pretty swiftly for one of my generous proportions, I ran downstairs and in a couple of bounds was grabbing a handy marrowbone knuckle-end, en route to the scene of the crime. The fox still intent on its meal had taken shelter in a small bramble tangle and in this direction I hurled the bone. This seemed to come as a bit of a shock to "Charlie" who left at speed scaling the wall, out and away.
Looking somewhat dishevelled, the hen ("Sage") was in a semi comatose state but so far as I could see without any obvious wounds. This particular brown hen, an ex "free range" critter had arrived with another, both lacking a good deal of the amount of feathers that one would normally associate with fowl that had lived a pastoral existence.
My third hen comes from a long line of home hatched and rather elegant poultry, gone so feral that they have all eschewed the safety of the hen hut for a roost in a thick tangle of honeysuckle.
It is the last of its line, and over the years its forebears have disappeared with only a trail of a few fine feathers leaving a clue to their likely fate. It is, perhaps understandably, due to the trauma of seeing multiple of its relations disappear on a one way journey accompanied by "Charlie", a bit neurotic, not quite part of the gang.
There is still a hungry fox out there, so I tried to round my remaining covey up and put them in the hen house. I managed to catch Onion the unmolested doppelganger of Sage and they are both now safely incarcerated for their own protection. Our remaining hen which I was unable to catch remains wild and free like its ill fated predecessors, now uniquely so. I suppose for the time being at least, she is “the last of the unique-hens”!