God damn rats.
There, I said it. I don't swear, as a rule, but I am angry. It was irritating when the rats ate the fruit in my orchard, and maddening when they took up residence under my tomato plants and took every single tomato. Now they've gone too far.
Yesterday, when Brett went to the chicken pen to collect eggs, there was only one chick. He couldn't find any sign of the other one anywhere. I looked when I got home, as well. This morning I found the chick's feathers scattered around the mouth of the hole the rats dive down when I catch them in my tomatoes.
We have shown the rat hole to Passage. She is unimpressed and promptly slips through the garden fence and returns to the barn.
Brett is buying traps today. I hope the remaining chick survives while we work on eliminating the rats. I don't know how successful we will be; rats are notoriously difficult to eradicate. I really thought that with two roosters and an attentive hen, those little chicks were safe.