Sunday, May 16, 2010

Absolute Devastation

Yesterday, we lost all but two of our chickens.

Two sole survivors were found under the straw bale.

It was one of the cats.

They have hung out down by the coop and pen everyday. At first we were worried they might try to go over the fence, but all they ever did was lay there and observe. My big cat seemed to get quite a kick out of laying around watching the chickens.

As the chickens have gotten quite big and the cats never seemed interested in trying to get into the pen, I had pretty much gotten over worrying about it.

However, yesterday while Meg and I were over at the other place doing chores, one of them somehow managed to push the bottom of the chicken wire away from the bottom board. The wire was stapled to the board, so all I can figure is that they have been working at finding a weak spot for some time and finally managed to get the wire loose.

Whoever it was, killed My Honey's 2 beautiful ducks and my 2 little Wyandotte's. We had picked these last few up a few weeks ago. Been meaning to post pics of them, just never got around to it.

Except for the two Megan found under the bale(one of the Australops and her favorite, Cheep) and the body of the one bird I found in the yard(Silver) of the birds are gone. Poof! No bodies, no feathers...Nothing.

Meg and I immediately started searching last night, but it was getting dark and I figured if anything they were bedded down somewhere...terrified.

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning, hoping that they would come out of hiding and be somewhere around the yard or in one of the neighbor's fields.


I drove around everyone's properties on the 4-wheeler and walked all through the neighborhood. If anything, I was at least hoping to find feathers or bodies or something...????

How can 15 pretty good sized chickens just disappear without a trace?

Not a body, not a feather...just GONE?????

We are all a pretty sad bunch around here today.

MH is livid. He was really fond of those ducks.

I have the cats locked in the garage, both for their own safety and in hopes that if the birds come out of hiding that they will wander back into the yard.

So far, no sign.

If they don't turn up before dark, I don't suspect they will last another night outside around here. Lots of coyotes and fox.

It was a pretty crappy day all around. My attempt at rednecking the irrigation did not work, we got yet another card in the mail from school about Megan's habitual tardiness to classes(besides the fact that her grades are shit) and MH had to go to Denver yesterday and some jack-hole whacked the side of his Suburban with something and put a huge dent in the fender. Random vandalism! Nice.

Oh and all of that on top of the fact that I have the worst head/chest cold I have had in forever. Meg has it too, just not as bad.

However, everything else pales in comparison to the loss of our beautiful little herd of chickens.

Gonna go look around the neighborhood again. I just keep hoping they turn up. Preferably alive, but geez-even finding some sign of them would help solve the mystery.


Mrs Mom said...

Aww damn girl. Hope you can figure it out. Feel better- SOON.

Breathe said...

You are having a run of it this week. Hope things turn a corner!

Rising Rainbow said...

It's really weird that there are no traces of them. I would be puzzled too. Hard not knowing what happened for sure.

Sorry this happened. Hope things turn around soon.

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like it was more that a couple cats at that task! So sorry ,hope there are more to be found alive . Get well soon , Hope hubby is only POed about the truck and unhurt. Meg , get your tush to class ON TIME and work hard .School is a short part of your life , but it can dictate where your life goes from there!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your loss, having had chickens it's either coyotes, owls, hawks but the worst are your own pets that take them out. I miss having my chickens.. oh, let me mention that if you have Wyandottes.. only hold the females.. the males are too mean! I miss having my hens. When I think of replacing them I think how I don't have to worry when the coyotes sing.. :/
bunches of hugs, angie in AZ

Dena said...

I am so sorry to hear about this run of for shit luck. And the loss of your babies...
Are you positive it was the cats? It is just hard for me to envision them taking out that many.
Umm...Megan? I know that you and your Mom have been crazyass busy.
And isn't it funny how school obligations always seem to be one of the first things to go by the wayside?
I wish you luck in sorting that out.

Tammy said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I have just become a crazy chicken lady this last year & surprised how attached I can get to my hens. It is strange that you can't find a trace of them. I would suspect more than a cat. We have a few cats and they have never paid the chickens any mind. Our St. Bernard, on the other hand... I'd suspect some sort of night critter... Do you have a hunting camera?

Anonymous said...

it seems like there would be feathers or some trace of them if it was cats. maybe someone just stold them while you were away. we have big hawks here that swoop down and take small animals from the yard.

Mikey said...

Dang that all sucks so bad. We had a bobcat that would take ours off. Nothing left but feathers in the woods.
Hope things get better soon. What a bummer!

Cousin B said...

Very sorry to hear about your loss...

PrairieFarmer said...

Big bummer. That's the thing about having the chickens/ducks...They are so tempting to everything that wants them! My friend just had an racoon get into a pen he had with 50 young chickens. Took all but about 5 or 6!
I too am suspicious that it is the cats. That seems like a lot for cats, and you would have thought there would have been much more evidence around since I would imagine the cats interest would have been in playing with them, versus disappearing them.
I would definitely wonder about birds of prey. That's been my major predator on my birds. Eagles, owls, hawks. And ravens! Ravens are REALLY bad with young birds, will really take them all. And they travel in family flocks so versus a hawk that might be satisfied with just one kill, a raven and all his kin will take multiples...
I always keep my young birds in protected on the sides and top cages. When they are grown, I let them out during the day but still chance the bigger predator birds especially in the spring when they are particularly hungry. But I can't stand to keep them locked up in the day, so we take the chance...
It is kinda funny however, everybody else is so in awe of the multitude of eagles (saw at least 6 today), kestrels, merlins, red-tailed hawks and harriers we have all around are farm. Me? I see them resting on a telephone pole on our place and I'm yelling and throwing things at them! Majestic? Bleck! Not when they are killing my birds! Especially with about 10,000 rabbits around...

cdncowgirl said...

Any chance that someone took the birds?? Pretty weird that there's nothing, not even a few feathers, left behind.

City girl turned Country Girl said...

AWW dang it!! I know how excited you were when you got them!! That is a very strange thing for them to be gone without a trace! They had to have flown off somewhere...OHHHH I hope you find them!

Your weekend just was not what a weekend is supposed to be that's for sure!! Maybe with the summer coming up Meg can get a rest from school to get back on track next school year! A**holes for vandalizing the suburban! WTH is wrong with people?! Karma's a beotch though, right!!

Here's to hoping the new week is better!

Maia said...

Ahh, that is just too sad. I agree it sounds like more than a couple of cats. I think if they did it there'd be feathers. I think some coyote or fox got in and took them somewhere else.

I sure hope you find more survivors, keep us posted.

Paint Girl said...

I am so sorry to hear about your chickens!!! I hope you can find them.
That is awfully strange that you haven't even found feathers!!
Hope you feel better soon, and sending good luck and thoughts your way!!

AKPonyGirl said...

I've lost three entire flocks since I've had chickens. Two went to neighborhood dogs and one went to a fox. We had a turkey once but a bald eagle killed it.

As far as Meg's school goes - have you ever thought about home schooling? My daughter is not a morning person and I was tired of fighting her every morning to get her to the bus on time. It was not conductive to a good school or work day. That was one of the contributing factors to the decision to home school. Now that we have done it for three years I don't think we could ever go back to "school". It's a great option and given your lifestyle I think it would work for you.

Vaquerogirl said...

sorry about your chicken- but it's usually never the cats. It's the dogs.
I had a whole flock destroyed too- but of course I didn't want to believe it was my own sweet doggie that went nuts. But it was. Things got worse from there.
I hope you find the rest of your flock... and the culprit.