No, I did not turn into a wildlife photographer overnight, this is someone else's picture of a marten, but we're pretty sure that's what got Ink. All we have for evidence is the feathers, blood drops, and headless body. But that's enough.
She wouldn't follow the flock and come in when I shook the Raisin Bag of Joy. No amount of RBJ manipulation could convince her. So, I left her out when I went to the doctor's office. It was still daylight. But she wouldn't come in several hours later when the DH and DD tried to put everyone away for the night. They had worked for over an hour with the RBJ and every other trick in the book, to no avail.
When we got home from karate, it was dark. This flock is not anywhere near as savvy as our first, who would roost in the trees or in the barn. DH took the house flashlight, and began the search. That left me with the penlight I have in the barn for emergencies. (Why is it the men get all the biggest toys?) So while DH is wandering farther and farther away from me in the pitch black darkness, I am left with my itty bitty consolation light. Suddenly, he yells, "I have blood!" and seconds later he yells, "I've found her. And she has no head!" I am immediately sad for Ink, and frozen in my darkness, wondering what killed her, and where was that thing now? (Does it like human toes? I wonder...)
Suddenly, I am frightened out of my wits by a husky "bleh" behind me. I whirl around and my penlight lands on a huge, brown blob. (I'm thinking bear...) Followed closely by two white blobs. Yeah, the sheep that were supposed to be safely grazing on the far other side of our 5+ acres, have snuck up on me and frightend the s--t out of me. Farming lesson #4: Buy a big, bright flashlight for the barn, and don't let anyone else take it from you.
Ink, we will miss you. Even though Nature doesn't allow for stupidity or stubbornness, I wish you had decided to come in. Thank you for the eggs and the company.
P.S. The battery had died on the electronet, and the sheep had decided to come up and tell me about it.
P.P.S. A friend had the outstanding idea to get a pool skimmer to catch the errant hen next time. Adding that to the farm shopping list...