Tag Archives: backyard poultry

Lesson 1303 – the decision has been made

Well you can’t say that I haven’t done my research on our coyote problem.

I spoke to our local animal control officer.
I spoke to a police officer.
I spoke to the people who work at a gun shop.
I went *back* to the police department to ask a few more questions.
I’ve read every comment on the Facebook pages for our town and our police department.
I spoke to a professional trapper.
I spoke to a person at Fish and Game.

In a nutshell this is what I’ve been told (again and again.) The coyote has discovered our flock (end of sentence.) He is not going to be going away. We can’t “scare” him off. we can’t train him to go away. The only solution for this particular predator is to trap and dispose of him. (Relocating is not an option. We’d just be pushing our problem onto someone else.)

The working theory is that there is a den nearby. It’s my (naïve?) hope that if this coyote is caught then other coyotes would then learn to stay away.

Because, trust me, I really don’t like the idea of “dispatching” any animal (you’ve seen the measures I’ve taken to rehab some of my injured chickens.) The trapper told us that we have to be okay with our decision and I said I was okay, but he then said it’s the “after the trap” part that I have to be “really okay” with. Continue reading

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Lesson 1302 – chickens and the zombie apocalypse

We lost another chicken this weekend. Our yard looks like the aftermath of the massacre that it is. In fact, we’ve had to take out our rakes, because there are that many feathers flying across the lawn.

My heart is broken. In the 6 years we’ve had chickens, we have never been hit this hard (we’ve had a few hawk attacks but that was it) and yet in the space of just a few weeks, we’ve been attacked by fishers, coyotes, and fox.

This weekend we tried to be outdoors as much as possible and *still* the coyote came. And then yesterday, *while* Marc was sitting at a porch table, a red fox came into our yard.

It feels like a zombie apocalypse at our house. Honestly, every time I go outside I fear the worst.

Yesterday a neighbor told me that she saw the coyote across the street from her house, it was eating an egg (which means it had been in our yard while we had been outside) and it was limping. Great – a young and foolish coyote pup who is not afraid of humans and who is also injured.

Fantastic. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Lesson 1300 – This one is unbearable

I don’t even know how to begin this one.

Let me start by saying this has been the most horrible summer we’ve had since we started having chickens 6 years ago. It’s been brutal. I seriously haven’t shed so many tears for our flock as I have in the last few days.

You know that our flock was attacked the other night, all 3 of this year’s chicks were killed and a hen from last year’s chicks was seriously wounded (she’s still alive and being cared for.)

Before that attack, our hen Rudd was almost decapitated by a predator. There is only one animal that attacks its prey by decapitating it, and that’s a fisher.

Which is why I wasn’t sure if a fisher had actually attacked our flock the other night. Sure 3 were dead but there were no visible signs of attack.

But yesterday I finally figured out what was going on. Our neighbor came over and as he stood at our front door he told me that one of our chickens was in his back yard.

I thought it was odd he was telling me this for two reasons: Continue reading

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Lesson 1299 – Wrapping toes around fingers

(I guess there was some confusion on my post yesterday, when I called this chicken our lone survivor, I meant she was the lone survivor of the 4 who were attacked. We still have 18 other chickens in our flock, it’s just that most of the young members are now gone.)

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As you can see our chicken is still alive but make no mistake, she is still in serious condition. Very serious condition.

Her legs are getting stronger and she can hold the weight of her body up when braced. But if I let go of the support, she topples. I’ve learned to prop her up against a wall of the rabbit hutch at night because when she tips over, she can’t get back up. It’s almost as if all sense of body balance has been taken from her.

There are a few other things going on as well.

Even though I go out several times a day to move her and try and get her to use her feet, she is still sitting – in the same position for long periods of time. Yesterday I heard a little whistle in her breathing (to be fair I did not hear it this morning.) Just like a human patient, you have to move air or it stagnates. And stagnation equals a problem.

She is eating, drinking and still pooping wet waste (which means she’s hydrated) – that’s all good. Continue reading

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Lesson 1298 – Lone attack survivor

Our lone survivor of the hen house attack is doing better. That first night when I retrieved her from under the hen house, she was thoroughly terrorized. Chickens that have been attacked tend to go into a kind of chicken-shock – those are the ones that you sometimes find the next morning dead from a heart attack. They are literally scared to death.

My chicken couldn’t move her legs and I thought it very likely that she might have some spinal damage. It didn’t look good but she was breathing and there didn’t appear to be any bleeding so I put her on bedding with some water nearby and waited to see how she would be in the morning.

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What I have found with chickens that have been severely injured, is if they make it through the first night, then they usually have a fairly good chance at recovery.

She made it through the first night. Continue reading

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Lesson 1297 – Attack in the hen house

It’s a horrible sound, that of a flock in panic – at night. I rushed outside to see what was up and with the help of my tiny LED flashlight (always kept on the fridge with a magnet for quick use), I saw that I was too late.

Something had gotten into the henhouse.

A sight all chicken owners hate to see.

A sight all chicken owners hate to see.

All 3 of this year’s chicks (now adolescents) were dead.

One of last years’ chicks was greatly injured (we thought she was dead until Spencer saw her trying to breathe.) She’s currently receiving Chick-ICU treatment. Last night I wasn’t sure she would make this, this morning she’s doing better but she can’t walk. Not sure if that is due to an injury or shock. I’ll be keeping an eye on her.

I’m sick. Just sick. You know that expression about how easy it is to shoot sitting ducks? Well when *something* attacks from within the hen house (and we have no idea what is was but our local fisher cat comes to mind), there is no place to go. The chickens get picked off one by one.

And the babies, who knew the least, were the ones who suffered the most. Continue reading

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