Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Inevitable

Being a member of numerous chicken farming groups, I often see where someone's entire flock or most is destroyed by some predator.  It is absolutely heartbreaking!  We all try to build the best fences and pens we can to protect our flocks, but sooner or later the inevitable happens.  

Our inevitable came a few months back.  We fed and cared for the chickens before leaving to spend some time with our son, daughter in law, and beautiful grand baby, Emmylou on Halloween.  We had a wonderful day!  As usual, upon our return home, we change into work clothes and head out to care for the birds.  This time many of our rare breed, Silver Laced Orpingtons were gone (without a trace), as well as some of our younger Malines.  The Serama seemed to be all in their chicken yard, which is accessible through a very small gate (too small for a dog to fit through). Those chickens that were in the corral for the day were also alright.  We spent a long time trying to locate the missing chickens.  We also found that our dog was out of her pen.  This was very peculiar since our eighteen year old had fed and watered her and locked the pen before we left.  However, she is not a good chicken dog.  Due to the circumstances involving her being out, we are unsure as to the real culprit in the disappearance of our chickens. 

We found one of our eight Silver Laced Orpingtons in the shed on the barn.  She was up in a window ledge.  We found one Cemani up in the rafters of the same shed.  We found one Maline hen of those missing and she was alive.  We searched the area and all the way to the house from the barn and found no birds, dead or alive.  We remained hopeful that they escaped and were roosting somewhere on the place.  The next morning we resumed our search.  We did find the remains of 4 or 5 of the missing chickens.  We have never found the rest.  

The sad part of this is that the we raised the Silver Laced Orpingtons from chicks that we purchased.  They were beautiful and just about ready to start laying.  We went from our original eight chickens down to the one survivor.  We found a rooster to buy so that we had one pair.  I was able to find a young pair to purchase for my husband for Christmas.  We are starting over again with that breed.  

It is absolutely heartbreaking to come home and find your birds gone or dead, no matter what the cause.  We have had neighbor's dogs that have come into the yard once before and killed some of our turkeys.  However there had not been any problems for a long time.  We have learned not to become to comfortable with our situation.  We live on a dead end road and have been the dumping ground for many unwanted dogs and such over the years.  I truly wish that folks wouldn't get pets that they are unwilling to care for.  IF you are unable to care for them, please take them to a shelter!  Don't dump them on the roadside for other people to have to care for them.  

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