Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chickens attacked; one dead

On Tuesday night my chicken pen was attacked and one of the chickens was killed.  The predator coupldn't get inside, but grabbed the chicken and tried to pull her through the chain links.  As soon as I (and the dogs) heard the commotion I rushed out, but it was already too late and she was dead.

Last night the predator returned twice, but I was better prepared.  I left a few lights on, so I wasn't stumbling in the dark.  The headlamp was hanging from the bed post.  The boots were by my bed.  So I was outside even faster than before.  This time the chickens were scared but weren't damaged. 

At first I suspected the fox, but now I think it was Pig the raccoon.  Wednesday night I had to chase two raccoons, including Pig, off my decks at least 4-5 times.  Mostly, they were in the bird feeders.  Later in the evening an oppossum was the culprit in the bird feeders.

The dogs are a big help.  Baby Dog, especially, hears everything and isn't shy about reporting it with sustained barks. 

Tonight I found more plywood and another tarp to better protect the girls from the predicted 5 degrees for tonight and hopefully from the predator as well.  Of course, if the chicken didn't sleep up against the fence, the predator couldn't have reached her, but chickens will do what chickens will do.

I hope the predator soon tires of these attacks and that my increased protection and fireman-quick exits from the bed to the outside helps deter it. 

This has been a harsh winter, and I'm sure it's been tough on the wild animals that live in the forest around me.  I'm not about to let my chickens pay the price for that, though.


Cathy said...

Oh no! I'm sorry hear about that. I know you love your chickens. I wonder if you put some kind of mesh around the bottom half the cage, would that give them more protection?

It's strange that a raccoon is trying get at your chickens. I never really heard them going after them. Unless it's really desperate.


Yes I agree it has been a tough winter for the wildlife -- barbara

Cicero Sings said...

Too bad about the chicken ... and about living on-call through the night ... makes for mornIng yawns.

am said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of one of your chickens. They are lovely.

Elora said...

We sympathize, Carolyn. Indeed it's been another of those "once in a lifetime" winters! Same as last winter. Hope your chickens are recovering and that they've not experienced any more assaults.


Carolyn H said...

All: I have had two more attacks on the chickens, but in both cases, the girls were only frightened not hurt. I haven't had any attacks since Thursday night.

I think the raccoon must have been pretty desparate to try for them. Actually, I think most of the wild critters are pretty desparate right now. I've seen opossum, smelled skunk, seen deer browsing where the browse must have little to no nutritional value. The first warm day brought everything out but they were out with little to fill their bellies. After a few more days of above freezing weather, I've stopped seeing the wild animals--perhaps they are able to find more food now and don't need to raid my bird feeders or chickens.

I sure hope that is the case, anyway.

Carolyn H.