About Me

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I am a 42 year old woman that is about as happy and content as one person can be. My husband of 21 years and our 15 year old daughter live on five and a half acres out in the country. We moved from the city four years ago and never looked back. I homeschool our daughter. We also love our animals. Our daughter has a miniature horse and two rabbits. We also have a border collie, two cats (again), two pot belly pigs, four peafowl, three emus, 2 llamas and an undetermined number of chickens, lets just say ohhh about 200. I have many breeds, from layers to fancy chickens. I love poultry shows, I love fowl in general as I have come to find out through having more than just chickens. Chickens will always be my first love though. I do show some of my birds occasionally.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Predator

Silkies P1080045 Ember and Bubba

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

night? Probably.

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.

Desperate 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.


madcobug said...

I am so sorry about your loss of your beloved chickens. That was nice of your friend to give you some eggs. Keep in mind that owls and night hawks get chickens at night also. I hope you can get whatever it is that is killing them. If it's a coyoto it probably has pups it is taking the chickens to or there may be more than one. Those things are getting to be numerous. I have a cousin who raises feist dogs for selling for hunting purposes and those things have got several of his dogs and used to kill his calves also when he had cattle. He told me a couple of year ago that he had shot 27 of those things standing on his back deck. I don't know what the count is now. Glad to see you have started another journal. Hugs, Helen

ally123130585918 said...

Kelly your poor little chicks ~ reading this made me really sad ~ I know how much they mean to you ~ Ally x

ally123130585918 said...

ps : Kelly your pictures are lovely ~ Ally x

wwfbison said...

I am so sorry to hear this happened ~ how sad.  Hopefully with Derby being on guard whatever it is will keep a good distance.   A big hug coming your way.

plieck30 said...

Oh somehow I missed all this going on. So sorry it happened to your chickies. Nice of the lady to give you some eggs to hatch. Glad you have your new journal now and I hope it works out well. Got to remember to put it in my favorites. Don't want to miss a single thing in your chicken life. Paula

geocachelinda66 said...

Oh I am so sorry.  I heard llamas make good watch dogs too.  Linda

acoward15 said...

Sorry to hear of your loss. What you need to do is smother your chickens in mud. This trick worked for Arnod Schwartzenegger when he was faced with the problem of a predator.

jacksj989 said...

I was sorry to hear of your loss but how kind of your neighbour to be there for you when you needed help and support.