This is a post I have been delaying. And if sad topics upset you, read no further.
We cooped the chickens Monday evening 6pm and left the property. At 9.45 am Tues morning (April 12) the coop door opened automatically. When I later reviewed the security cameras I saw Wanda (one of the two hens which can fly over the paddock fences) pass the security camera at 10am and head for the compost heap. So all was normal at 10am.
We returned at 12.20pm and the place was quiet. Normally Buffy, the rooster, crows. Silence. And from the deck M. looked toward the coop and paddock areas and said “something is wrong”. We approached the paddock area and there were feathers everywhere. Then we saw the first body, and then another, and another. With feathers ripped off, bodies savaged, a few missing heads. We were quiet as we walked and counted and I took pictures. But where was Buffy? #1 paddock leads to #2 paddock which leads to #3 paddock and the coop. The hens were in #2 and #3 paddocks. I eventually found Buffy in #1 paddock by himself. I thought that’s odd, since it appeared the intruders may have first entered through #3 paddock. And then I saw in the corner of #1 paddock where the fence attaches to the barn that the fencing and 3 stacked concrete blocks had been forced aside and I realized that Buffy had been in #2 paddock and had rushed to #1 paddock to confront the intruders and defend his hens.
Sorry Buffy, I should never have doubted you!
I dug a trench with the bobcat and we placed the bodies alongside each other and I covered them and planted some wildflowers and crimson clover. Of the 9 chickens Wanda was the only one missing and her remains were deposited by a predator near the coop a few days later.
I was given the Ameraucana by a neighbor in July 2011 and we acquired Buffy and the older hens in September 2011 The younger hens were offspring of Buffy and his hens. So we kept them safe, except for 2 lost to predators, for more than 4.5 years. And now its over. We had really good times with them and we learned a lot, they entertained us and we enjoyed their excellent eggs. And now its over.
The security cameras caught a glimpse of 2 largish dogs leaving through a perimeter fence at 11.30am. And who is to blame – the dogs? the dogs’ owners? or me? I am still thinking that one out.