Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And then there were seven

Thank-you for all your condolences.

In the end we lost four chickens: Marlene, Caroline, Tiny, and Barbie. Miraculously, Alberta Einstein, Owen's 4-H project and favorite, survived, and one hen who had been assumed dead was later found alive. We got home from Boston at midnight and discovered phone messages from neighbors we have never met telling of dead chickens strewn about and traumatized hens wandering in their driveways. It was apparently quite a horror show, a real community spectacle. 

The aftermath is definitely creepy. Surveying the yard today, I feel like I'm looking at a crime scene, and the remaining hens are visibly nervous and depressed, perched in a shady corner where I have never seen them before. I didn't want to confine the chickens to a little cage-like run, but I am beginning to see the downside of "free range."


  1. I'm so sorry! I've started reading up on chicken keeping and I have noticed that there is a *lot* of death involved -- shipping deaths, sickness, death by other chickens, dogs, cats, hawks.... Then there are all of those roosters that get the knife. Maybe that's why chickens are more livestock then pets -- they die too easily!

    Our suburban yard is enclosed by high fences; however, I still regularly see neighborhood cats, possums, raccoons, and skunks. The cats are the only ones that come around during the day though. I'm thinking that free ranging isn't going to be an option.

  2. Our 6.5 foot fence is obviously inadequate. Another problem is that our lot is very visible from the street -- everyone and every dog passing by can see the chickens running around. A more sheltered yard might be better.
    We've had no trouble with domestic cats. Yet.

  3. I didn't realize until I read the list that I was holding my breath for Alberta. I'm still so sad but glad that at least that goofy bird was spared. May the flock recover!

  4. Georgia Jewel10/21/09, 4:08 PM

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  5. tell us more about the perp. what kind of mutt was he.she?
    any chance of a candid photo?
    what is the stance of the criminal's owners?

  6. Oh, how horrid, I'm so sorry. There's nothing like raising livestock to plunge you into the harsh realities of life and death. Speaking as the granddaughter of a small-scale farmer, I saw enough grisly scenes with my own eyes and heard many more stories, both tragic and disgusting. My sympathies. Good luck with your anti-predator strategies. You can't blame the dog - it's his nature. Hopefully the owner will be much more careful in future.