Something wiped out the younger generation of my flock. Signs say raccoon although nothing but stray cats ever showed up in the trap. I lost a total of 15 chickens in one night. The youngest babies were barely a month old and all 10 of them were missing with only five feathers found to prove they even existed. Five of the pullets were 5 months old, and they were not missing. They were piled in the pasture minus their heads. My OLG (old lady gangsta) chickens and 2 roosters were torn up and majorly traumatized. Of the 20 pullets I purchased this spring I have three left. I call them the trauma chickens as they are now six months old, only barely making progress back from their experience that night. Star, a red sex link, spent a week in the house and many times I was sure she wouldn’t make it. She was found with large tear like wounds under both her wings, I am grateful my husband coordinated a thorough search of the property “just in case.”
My flock now feels like it lost its innocence but feathers are coming back, and they are getting braver every day with the exception of the three trauma chickens. Properly we call them Goldielocks, Steve French, and Star but together they are the still traumatized crew that spends their day hiding under the farm’s old equipment pile out back. Im just glad they are ok and will let them work this out. Recently they have been spotted being social but only in brief spurts of meal times.
I purchased a coop built by a man in his 70’s who wished to fly south with the other snowbirds. His craftsmanship is much better than mine and he lived in a coyote area therefore it was built with protection in mind. It came with five cute chickens of questionable paternity he had purchased two springs ago but they lay frequent enough for me and have such beautiful delicate blue and green eggs. I also purchased four Barred rocks and another EE that are a year old. Nobody is showing signs of broody despite my attempts to lure them to the nest. I was asking a lot of them so quickly so I also decided to play mama chicken and sit on my own brood. Now I am back to hoping they do not go broody until spring. Two of the surviving Trauma chickens have yet to lay and are breeds known to be broody so I have not completely give up hope for next spring. I have 11 eggs in the incubator although I do believe three of them may no longer be developing correctly. I desperately wanted some younger birds in the flock to help me produce enough eggs in excess of our own needs. With two adult male roosters I am totally in love with I knew I needed to find some mature hens and fast. To their credit both roosters are worthy of being kept and we have had no problems at all.
The idea of a self sustaining flock is appealing to me as I am a firm believer of practicing the skills of self sufficiency long before you are trying to figure it out in a crisis. What if the days of the chick bins at tractor supply are gone and the zombies are loose? My first two home made incubators were assembled form things scrounged on the farm but didn’t regulate the temperature very well. I decided with only one shot at this on this side of winter that I should kick the $55 for a basement model from the CoOp.
The babies are due to hatch on my 42 birthday I hope all goes well and I have at least a handful of babies. By hatching this side of fall they will lay next spring and I wont have another year of raising baby chicks. I need at least three layers to pick up where the OLG chickens who, thankfully survived the attack, have retired. I know they are old ladies and that they are chickens. I think they have given me six eggs between this year. But for chickens going into their 7th year of life I know they could live for some time and that is just fine with me. I have found more therapy in taking care of my silly flock of birds than I have in about anything else I’ve ever ever done. Thankfully I have not had another predator attack. I do free range during the day and understand its risks and can look myself in the mirror knowing I did my best to balance their safety with their chickeness.
With a little luck I will have babies on August 5th to Blog about. Thanks for taking a minute of your time for me here at
~A Little Faith Farms