Farm Farm

Predator Attack

Yesterday I was out with the kids for a few hours. When we left we let all the chickens and goats out to free-range, as I usually do during the day. When we pulled back in the driveway I immediately noticed an abudance of white feathers floating around the yard.

This can only mean one thing…

PREDATOR ATTACK

Now over the years I have lost countless chickens to hawks, fox, raccoons, opposum, weasel, raccoon and neighborhood dogs. You do begin to have what I’ve termed “a farmer’s mentality” about this. These animals eating chickens has been going on since they both landed on this planet. It’s the cycle of life. However, that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Plus, as I have mentioned before, an unexpected side-benefit to having my goats is that when they are together, I haven’t lost a SINGLE chicken to predator attacks. That is extraordinary. Now when I went to Wyoming for the summer and took the goats on their “goatcation” to my friend Keely’s house, within a week of their leaving my entire flock was killed.

Or so I thought. When I returned from Jackson I immediately started getting calls about a chicken running around in a certain yard down the street. Sure enough when I drove by there was Chow Mein, my little Japanese bantam chicken that my friend Sue gave to me! That teeny tiny little chicken had been living all alone for 2 months in a neighbors yard and somehow managed to survive! We tried unsuccessfully to try and catch her a few times. She would literally fly 30 feet up onto a tree branch. Now this in itself is unusual because chickens as a rule cannot fly. They can “catch air”, as I call it, but really cannot get very far off the ground for more than a few feet. This little chicken was flying. However, I knew she would just leave again if I caught her without any chickens at home, so I waited until I got some adolescent chickens from Weir Farm in Wilton to go and catch her. It took me and 3 of my kids to successfully catch her the day after I got the new chickens, and much to my surprise Chow Mein was delighted to be back in a flock. She barely left the coop for days and didn’t fly out of the enclosure for weeks. Content to be among her fellow peeps again and have food thrown at her on a regular basis. She is one tough chicken and she’s become a bit famous in our home. She also became broody early this spring and was determined to hatch unfertilized eggs, rolling as many as she could under her tiny body. I adore her.

I also got an early-September order of chicks in the mail. They’ve grown over the fall and winter and are now wonderful, happy, healthy, laying chickens. I’ve had 27 chickens since September and haven’t lost a single one. I’ve grown unusually attached to these girls.

So back to the beginning of the story. I pull into the driveway and saw all of these feathers. Now I have have 4 white chickens right now and 2 that are a very light grey. We flew out of the car to see what had happened and try to find the flock. The goats were standing by the open gate door looking very upset and lots of the chickens were milling around. In the coop I found Chow Mein huddled in her favorite small nesting box looking scared out of her mind. I’m sure whatever attached them brought back awful memories of her entire clan being killed last summer. I held her for awhile as the kids continued to search for chickens. I inspected her for blood but she appeared unharmed.

Evan discovered one of my white Buff Cochin’s hiding way underneath the chicken coop. It was starting to rain, but Evan jumped right under there and didn’t give up until he had that chicken.¬†She, also, appeared to be frightened but unharmed.

It wasn’t until a little while later when India was in the coop trying to ease Chow Mein’s fears that she noticed the large hunk of feathers that had been ripped out of her rear. While she wasn’t bleeding, I’m sure she has one sore backside. But the worst part of it is her beautiful stand-up tail with the black tips is now rather pathetic looking.

Before

After ( she did not want her picture taken like this)



I know they will grow back and am thrilled that she’s alive. I just cannot believe what a tough little cookie she is.

We gathered up every chicken that we could find and locked them in the coop. I went out a while later when it was really raining to check on them and found two more chickens madly circling the coop. I let them in and settled them down. As dark was falling I went out again and everyone was safely settled on their perches. Miraculously all 27 were present and accounted for and, except for a disgraceful-looking tail, appeared to be unharmed.

Comments

  1. Chris Alexander says:

    I have an immediate fondness for people who love animals like this. I’m so glad nobody was seriously harmed. Being a farmer is my dream job. I look forward to reading more of your blog. Chris

  2. grrrrrrrrr……….

Trackbacks

  1. […] I think we’ve ever had laid here. I don’t even think my two favorite old bantam hens, Chow Mein or Mrs. Pocket, laid eggs this small. See photo below (center, far right egg). A tiny egg was laid […]

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