Sad news tonight. I went out to lock up the chickens, just about a half an hour after I'd been out feeding the alpacas, and found evidence that Victor had been carried off by, probably, a raccoon. As much of a toot as he had become, I'm really bummed about this. All the other chickens out there in the pasture are fine, which means that for all intents and purposes, Victor saved the hens. I had just thought to myself today how happy I was that we hadn't lost a chicken in a long time. Big sigh.
It's very maddening, but it is part of the risk I've decided to take with free-range chickens. For their maximum quality of life, they need the freedom to move around, get exercise, and find the most nutritious food. But it's a dangerous life. Dang it all.
You were getting to be something of a goober, Victor. I will miss you.