Tag Archives: Zelda

Lesson 1307 – Breaking news

The other day I got an email from a local reporter. She was doing an article about the predator activity in our town, could I send her some comments? I’m also a writer and I’ve done some freelance work for her newspaper. Of course, I’d help her out.

I sent her a few sentences on what had happened with regard to our coyote, fox, and fisher attacks. Gave her some statements on what my concerns were and that I was glad to see the word was getting out to others. We all need to protect our animals and be vigilant was my message.

Next I get another email from the reporter, could she stop over to take some photos of the chickens?

Sure, must be a slow day but come on over. Continue reading


1 Comment

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

Lesson 1306 – Will I ever?

Not much news on the predator front.

We’d had some trail cameras set up but they didn’t show anything other than an opossum walking around our yard (and while very interesting, it wasn’t the result we were looking for.)

If we don’t see any predators then we don’t set the traps. And of course the logical follow-up to that is that if no traps are set, then no predators are caught.

My daughter got a text from our neighbor who reported seeing a fox that had been reported all over our they’re out there.

We are still holding at 15 chickens (Gimpy is doing better each day but she still sleeps separate from the flock, mostly because she can’t yet defend herself from the pecking that has already started.) Continue reading

1 Comment

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

Lesson 1305 – Once, you are always

Last night Marc and I took the kids to dinner. Marc and Griffin wanted sushi so we went to a restaurant (Sushi half price Monday – Tuesday and Wednesday!) a few towns over. We got to the restaurant around 7:00.

A few minutes after we arrived I got a text from Logan. He had finished work, was anyone going to pick him up? I had forgotten that he needed a pickup. Yikes!

Everyone stayed at the table while I left to get Logan and come back.

40 minutes later I returned and the sushi still hadn’t been served although the girls had tucked into their meals. – “We’re going to be here for a long time, aren’t we?” They asked, as they pulled out their phones to start checking texts, tweets, and playing an online stacking game.

Logan and I ordered our meals, the sushi came. More sushi was ordered, by the time we left it was 9:00.

Driving home, I made one of those inane seasonal remarks like “I can’t believe how short the days have become” and then it hit me.

We had left our chickens outside. Granted they were in a penned in area but they were outside. In the dark. In a yard that has been plagued with predators. When we said we were going to go to dinner, it hadn’t occurred to me that we would be returning *3* hours later.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Continue reading


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

Lesson 1304 – Other than Gimpy

With all the heartbreak and devastation to our flock this summer, there is some good news.

Our Barred Rock chicken who was attacked the night we lost 3 other from our hen house is continuing to make significant progress. At first, she couldn’t use her legs and after a careful inspection that showed some scratches on her back, I thought that she might have sustained some spinal damage. She couldn’t move her legs at all.


Things didn’t look good, but because she was eating and popping, (she even laid an egg the day after the attack) I decided to give her a chance.

We constantly checked on her and had to right her when she’d fall over and couldn’t get back up (yes there were many, many references to the TV commercial.)

Day after day, we rolled her back onto her stomach after she had fallen over. She would patiently wait on her side, her head sometimes in the feed bowl, for us to come and pick her up. Several times a day I’d take her out for physical therapy sessions where I’d support her body allowing her to move her legs without weight.

Each day, we’d see a *tiny* bit of improvement. Continue reading


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

Lesson 1159 – More about Zelda

Let me put this right out there. As a  journalist, I’m taught to verify *everything* before I put it into print. I don’t blame people for doubting Zelda’s story (but you don’t have to call me a liar.) As someone who writes about chickens, I, myself would have doubted it. Your hen changed into a rooster and then she changed back into a hen, ooooooo-kay.

So, in an effort to provide more proof, Marc and I went out to the coop to take some close-ups of Zelda.

Note: even though she is a family favorite, she is not the type of bird to let you cuddle her. She’s never been particularly friendly, but (and this is her claim to fame) she was the very first bird in our flock to lay an egg and so she will always be a family favorite.


Here is a photo of Zelda’s bubble gum comb when she was a rooster. A comb is a bit like a fingerprint. Each bird will have similar but distinctly different combs.

Here is a photo of Zelda’s comb that we took this morning. And that’s the same Zelda eye there glaring at me. Continue reading


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

Lesson 1158 – There’s something else about Zelda

zelda grey


In past posts, here and here, I wrote about how our grey Easter Egger, Zelda had turned into a rooster over the winter. Something had happened to her and she threw off enough testosterone to show male characteristics. Guesses for this change ran from a tumor on her reproductive organs, to hen-o-pause, to an illness, no one really knew what was going on.

zelda rooster

She changed color, her neck feathers grew long and spiked and she developed a rooster’s tail.

I had heard of this happening (rarely but there were stories) and so I figured that Zelda was just being Zelda – so she’s transgender, it’s a little weird, but that’s okay, all are welcome in our flock.

With the recent falcon attack, I went out to the coop to take a full inventory of our chickens.

“I can’t find Zelda,” I told Marc fearing the worst. The Falcon must have gotten her. I mean it stood to reason, she was the alpha of the flock and if anyone would stand up to a predator, it would have been Zelda.

As Zelda is one of our family favorites, I broke the news to each of the kids one-by-one. When I told Addy, she replied with “No, she’s there, but she’s all white now.”

Some of my kids have speech impediments and so I had to clarify, “She’s all right?” I said a little confused. If she was all right, then where was she?

“No Mom, she’s all white. She’s turned white.” Continue reading


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