Friday, September 6, 2013

Devastating two weeks for the chickens. Predator Loss: (May be upsetting)

The past two weeks have been tragic for our chickens.  When we decided to free-range we knew that eventually we would lose a chicken to a predator.  We didn't expect it to be as devastating as it turned out to be.
Doodle-  RIP

Snake in the brooder coop
 First we lost our bantam buff Cochin rooster Doodle, and our buff orpington hen Bertha.  We were unsure what the predator was and tried to keep a closer eye on them during the day while they were out foraging. The same day, we found a snake in our brooder coop and it had killed one of our chicks.  We didn't have any problems for a week, and we thought that whatever had gotten them had come through and gone.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.  Last Saturday, we went down to the coop after lunch and something had gotten another 3 of our chickens.  While searching, we came upon two huskies with one of our chickens!  They ran off, and we buried the chickens.  Two days later, they came back and decimated our flock by killing another 6 chickens!  So in a matter of 2 weeks we lost a dozen chickens. The kids were really upset and the Hubby was prepared to take drastic measures to protect our flock!  I called Animal Control and they told us that if the dogs were on our property killing our livestock or chickens then we could use whatever means necessary to protect them.  At that time we didn't know who the dogs belonged to, but have since found the owners who apologized and agreed to pay for the damages as well as keeping their dogs home in a pen.

We have 11 chickens left, and Clarabelle, our remaining buff Cochin, is sitting on 7 eggs that we hope hatch next week!  Loss is inevitable on a farm, but each one hurts a little.  Many people don't realize how strong yet compassionate you have to be when you choose a life on a farm.  It doesn't matter if you choose to have just a few backyard chickens or have a large commercial farm with hundreds of animals, this life is definitely not for the faint of heart! Many days you just get by on a hope and a prayer.

Clarabelle sitting on her nest

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