Sunday from before daylight until late Sunday night
I was gone out of town with my parents to visit my
grandmama. So I didn't see my guys and gals all
that day. Saturday I fed and watered near dark
time as it had been so hot that day. I didn't notice.
But on Monday...I noticed. Ember was missing.
That is not entirely unusual as she will skip through
the fence wire because she is so trim. She will
venture onto the side of the fence that is next to
the field of growing cotton. She has been known
to try and hide a clutch of eggs there. When I
pour the food she usually shows up. Not this day.
Tuesday morning I went out early before it got
hot and still didn't see Ember. Tuesday evening
I went on an all out search. Shelby said she had
seen her in the back that very day...for sure. I
wondered if she had been mistaken. When I
gathered the eggs that afternoon I didn't pay
that much attention to them until I was washing
them to put them away and noticed one of the
eggs was in fact Embers egg. Now don't ask me
how I can tell her egg from the others, I just can.
Well, so that meant she had been right, she had
seen her. But where was she now? I began an
all out search. I looked under the pool deck,
walked the whole back half where there might
be a tall tuft of grass for her to hide eggs in the
corner. I looked everywhere, front and back.
As I walked to the back...I saw feathers...white
feathers...just a half a dozen or so. Silkie feathers.
On the other side of the fence was a fistful of
Silkie feathers. My heart sank. I hadn't even
realized any silkies were missing and felt a bit
guilty because of it. Heck, they are always poppin
around here and there up by the house, they
NEVER leave from around the chicken pen area.
So when I saw the feathers...I knew that it was bad.
I went sprinting in a panic back up to the house...
franticly looking in the nesting box house, where
Dorothy has been for over a month gone broody
and not budging wanting to hatch eggs. She was
there, and so was Rough. Rowdy was walking
around not far away. But where were the three
I had hatched last year from them? Where was
Buddy, my favorite Silkie guy? Where was that
comical looking LC? Where was my little girl
BeeBee? Nowhere...gone. Vanished save a few
feathers. I was running into the house half
hysterical calling for Ian to come and help me
find my birds. I told him quickly what I had
discovered and he came out and walked the outside
of the fence with me...and when we did...we found
Embers tail feathers...about 9 of them...a lot.
So, Ember was gone for sure now. My heart
broke at the suffering my birds had endured.
Something had dragged them off...whole. In the
Since having the fence put in we have not had any
problems with dogs or otherwise. We are so open
here, coyote and fox were not a problem. But it has
been really dry. Predators are getting desperate
I imagine. The neighbor came by for some eggs
yesterday and told me her husband saw a coyote
out in broad daylight at 4 yesterday afternoon
but didnt have his gun, so was not able to kill it.
This is not good news. This is very disturbing as
coyote don't make a habit of coming out in the
daytime out in the open like that. He saw it out
in a field too...no cover. Very unusual behavior.
Derby has been drylotted now for weeks. He has
been known to charge the fence at anything that
even looks like it might invade his territory, which
is the whole fenced in back area. I have seen him
scare off dogs...they run tail tucked. So, in the hope
that he would do the same to a coyote or fox, he has
been recruited 24 hours a day out in the back. Got
to keep the grass really short, don't want him to
overeat and founder. Also been keeping the lights
on at night. Been thinking about putting a radio
out there for people noise so any predator will
think there are people about. Going to have to
get a real gun now. Learn how to use it, and be
ready if I need to. Whatever came over that fence
went right into the fenced chicken house area,
plucked up a silkie and carried it off. I never heard
a thing. It has been two nights now...with Derby
guarding the back at night, and now during the day
since they are coming out in the day...and all is well.
So far so good.
Forgot to add...in the top picture from left to right:
Dorothy, LC, Rough in the front middle, BeeBee in
the back middle, Rowdy, and Buddy. the second is
a close up of Buddy, and the third pic is of Bubba
on the left and Ember on the right. Ember will be
missed the most. She was so special. What a
character she was...she has some good stories that
go with her. She was a good hen.