Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Big Adventures in Chicken land

I know I have been M.I.A.

I think I may suffer from a late summer brain disorder.  It's symptoms are directly related to the heat.  It certainly inhibits my writing ability.  After doing a little checking, I am at least consistent in my seasonal writing inabilities.  Apparently I do this every year.  As far as I know, there is no cure at this time, but the good news is, fall is here!  A high in the 50's this Saturday.  Can you believe it?  I have my coveralls washed and ready to go.

Literally.  I washed them last week.

Some of you may be aware, some not, that we have been having egg production issues.  It really has happened over the last three weeks, and it has been miserable.  Not only do I have concerns over filling customer orders, but I also have the anguish of walking into the chicken barn and wondering what may be waiting for me there.




How about just some eggs?

I have been trying to correct the issue, but no culprits as of yet.  Then, as if things weren't bad enough, we had a coyote attack on Sunday evening.

Yes, I am certain it was a coyote.

Apparently the girls were out minding their own business the other evening, when a coyote caught them by surprise.  I was not here, and no one had any idea of what was going on.  I went to the barn that night with my Full-timer, and we were talking when she all of a sudden screams and jumps back from the feed bin.  There was a gray chicken hiding behind that bin, and when it saw her, it moved.  When it moved, all my Full-timer saw was some gray thing moving.  Past experience has taught us...possum!  She was quite relieved to find out it was a chicken, but then that begged the question, "Why is she in here?"

I grabbed her and headed out to the chicken barn.  I was very surprised when I flipped on the light and started doing a head count.  I was missing seven hens.  There may have been some expletives at this moment in the story.  Then I started looking around.  I was able to find three girls, one of which was injured.  I got her separated out and looked over, and while she was missing a lot of feathers, and a chunk of her behind, I felt like she would make it.  I took a quick look around outside, and all I found were a lot of feathers.  Four separate areas with a lot of feathers.

Not looking too good.

I came inside and got the Man in Charge and the spotlight, and we walked around the creek.  We looked in all the trees, but nothing.  We grabbed the cat, and headed in for the night.

The next morning, first thing, we were back out there.  To our surprise, two hens were waiting outside the door ready to go in.  We then started looking around in hopes of finding some tracks, or other evidence of what might have happened.  It was at this time that we knew it was a coyote.  I spotted fresh prints, and as we were looking at them, I looked up and three feet in front of me was another hen hiding in some weeds.  When I saw her, I yelled, "Chicken!", and she hopped up.  So, at this point, we were thinking we had only lost one hen.  As the Man in Charge was walking out of the pasture, he yelled back at me.  There was the final hen, walking down the driveway.  She must have been hiding up around the house somewhere.


I spent the rest of the morning really looking them all over, and making sure they were okay.  I had to doctor the one up a little, but she should do fine.  She is living in an area by herself, so no one will bother her.  The rest are looking a little frazzled.  There are some feathers missing, but they all survived.  My guess is that the coyote had the one that ended up injured, and she managed to get away.  At that time the alarm had already been sounded so he was really having to chase the others, only getting a mouth full of feathers each time.  All I know is that it was so scary that some of them chose to hide all night.

I did check the creek, and I can see his prints coming in, and then where he turned to come up out of the creek.  The girls have been inside this week.  The eggs are slow to come.  They are still counting their blessings, and I don't blame them.  Now we have a whole new predator to deal with, so, wish us luck...Joy!  On the up side, there are 18 baby chicks in the garage.  I had them on order prior to this little ordeal.

But that is a whole other story...more to come now that the heat wave is over.


  1. Thank goodness the alarms were working! Aren't your girls clever----to hide out separately. Could we see a few "baby pics", please?

  2. There are a lot of people that think chickens are stupid. I have said repeatedly that chickens just make you smarter. You always have to be one step ahead of them. I guess that goes for Mr. Coyote as well.

    There will be pictures of the newbies soon. I am in the process of rearranging the garage, again, and I will spend some time with them then. I think video may be the better way to go. I have always had trouble getting good chick pics.

  3. I agree that they are anything but stupid.