Lesson 1301 – This summer has been brutal

We have been hit hard with predators this summer. Since we started raising chickens 6 years ago, we’ve not seen anything quite like this.

In the early spring we were hit by hawks and falcons. We lost a few birds.

You know about the recent fisher cats attacking at night, (they are the ones who pull the heads off of chickens in the coop.) Fishers are what killed Zelda and the three babies.

Yesterday we heard a chicken being carried off from our property and when Addy and I investigated we saw a young coyote in our neighbor’s yard. The chicken he had taken (and bit into the back of) ended up dying in my arms. There was nothing anyone could have done for her (except stroke her and tell her she was a good girl.)

Then, this morning another neighbor came over to tell me that he had seen a large fox in his yard (2 houses up the street.) Along with that information came another viewing of the coyote who came into our backyard, very close to our house.

It’s been a bad summer for many people. I can’t tell you how many “Missing Cat” posters I’ve seen around our area this year.

It feels like we are all under attack.

Don’t know the reason for this sudden increase in predators. It could be that we are starting to overdevelop (which includes overcutting) our town and therefore forcing the wildlife into areas where they normally don’t go.

Of it could simply be that the local predators have discovered the “all you can eat buffet” that is our back yard. Although why they have “discovered” it after 6 years is beyond me.

Regardless of what it is, it’s devastating. We started this spring off with 31 birds and we are currently down to 15 (with one who is still in critical condition.) In a flock where until now we have averaged 2 -3 deaths per year (and most of those were the deaths of our oldest chickens during the winter months.) this is a hard hit.

And in a flock where we name our chickens and have stories and adventures to tell about each one. It’s nothing short of breathtakingly brutal.



Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Eggs

5 responses to “Lesson 1301 – This summer has been brutal

  1. I’m sorry that you’ve lost so many of your chickens to predators. The chickens look beautiful. I will be joining you on Facebook too – can’t wait to read some chicken jokes!

  2. I wish I could come and give you a big hug, Wendy! I’ve been crying for you every day this week. Stay strong. I’ve been following your blog for years, and I want you to know I admire you for your strength and tenacity.

  3. I am so sorry for all of your losses Wendy. I know how I feel about my kids. It’s one of the reasons Josephine and Albert are indoor cats. I wouldn’t be able to stand if I came home to find one of them dead in the street. Or worse, if I never found them at all. Take care. My whole flock, pride, and pack is thinking of you. Love, Diane, Treat, Fiyero, Josephine, Figgy, Idina, and Albert

  4. Marcia

    I free range my flock, too, Wendy. And I marvel that while I lost one to a fox or coyote (no trace left behind) my first year, there has not been another loss a year later. And now I have 2 roosters that make lots of noise all morning long and it is like a flashing neon sign to predators. I heard coyotes early the other morning at my bedroom window (yipping) and was so worried about leaving my flock alone for the day. It’s a gamble we all take. I think I will start keeping them in their pen and only letting them out when I am home. All it takes is one loss. It isn’t worth the pain and stress that you must be going through. I grieve with you over your beautiful pets.

  5. It’s so hard to lose one, but 16 throughout the summer is brutal. Sorry your homestead is getting hit so hard by predators this year. 😦

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