May 28, 2013

the scene of the crime

There's a sight that every farmer, or even every backyard chicken keeper, doesn't ever want to see. And it looks like this. . .

That's right, it's evidence of a chicken attack. Or in this instance, a downright massacre. I'm not showing the gruesome photos. These aren't our chickens, but we help take care of them and their eggs feed us so they're our chickens. In our five years of farming, Nate and I have been incredibly lucky to have never had a predator issue, save for a situation where our barn cats were eating our baby chicks. But this is a different set up, in a different location, with different predators. And a set up that was here when we got here.

I walked upon this scene with a heavy heart a few days ago and it took Nate and I a while to figure out what had happened. Something had gotten into their enclosure and killed seven out of eleven chickens. We only found four bodies, three had been carried away. The remaining four were, of course, shaken and one had pretty severe lacerations. She's healing well but we're keeping them inside for now. I put Rescue Remedy in their drinking water for the shock and trauma and have checked on them periodically. They seem to be recovering well but it'll be a while before they're laying eggs normally again. The predator, probably a fisher judging by the scene and the state of the carcasses, will most likely be back for more. So, we're faced with the challenge of figuring out a new set up for these girls and the new ones to come.

There was one huge, beautiful Buff Orpington rooster among the hens and perhaps the saddest part of this whole ordeal is knowing that he fought to defend his girls until the very end. 

No comments:

Post a Comment