Monday, August 9, 2010

Chicken massacre

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Well, Saturday was a pretty sad day around here.  We were alerted by some neighbors that breed Jack Russell Terriers that two of their dogs had made it onto our property.  Jack Russell's are a fox hunting breed, their nature is to go after small animals and unfortunately for our chickens they lived up to their breed.  Our chickens have a very secure coop to retire to in the evening, but during the day we let them free range.

Out of 16 chickens that we had, 12 were killed.  None of our mature hens survived, but our single rooster did survive (he is missing all of his tail feathers, so it was a narrow escape).  The other sad part of the whole encounter was that we were only able to capture one of the dogs, the owners tried to capture the other dog but the dog would not comply after a long time of trying.  With four birds still unaccounted for we had no choice but to shoot and kill the dog.  The owner has reported that they will place the other dog far away from our home and has committed to paying for the cost to replace our birds.

The picture shows the four remaining birds.

1 comments:

Thomas said...

So very sorry to hear about your loss. We lost our two Polish bantam hens to a fox last week. The fox reached into a vent hole in the top of the house and grabbed the rooster's tail feathers as he slept with the hens on top of the nesting boxes. This apparently spooked them and they ran into the run and up against the chicken wire. The fox was then able to grab Lucy by the wing or head and he tried to pull her through the wire, decapitating her and pulling a wing off in the process.

Ethel and Beethoven would have nothing to do with the hen-house that night, even though I covered the vents with hardware cloth. I finally caught Beethoven but he spent the night in one of the nesting boxes and would not go near his usual spot on top. Ethel flew into a nearby pistach, too high for me to catch.

Using Lucy as bate, I set a live trap. The next morning, the trap had been sprung, but only by a gray squirrel. The fox managed to pull Lucy out without tripping the trap.

The next night I managed to get Ethel into the house and they slept safely the night. I set the trap again tying a banana to the end so it would be a struggle to get it free. Then next morning there was brar fox, nicely caged. As I moved him, however, he/she gave a mighty lunge and sprung the back of the trap open and ran off.

That night, Ethel would not go into the coop again, preferring the pistach instead. The next morning, she was gone. Poor Beethoven pined and crowed all day.

I may never get that trap-shy fox to enter my trap again.

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