Monday, August 1, 2016

Chicken Massacre at Silver Run

This is all I have left of my flock.
A young Jersey Giant on the left
(not even 100% it's a Jersesy Giant)
Vader the Black Brahma roo on the perch and 
Thelma the barred Rock also on the perch
(they were camera shy)
You can see the feathers in the coop.
That's what's left of the others.
Wednesday evening, 
Big E and I were there to fill the feeders and check on everyone.
I had lost 2 hens already-
one I assumed from old age and one I assumed from the heat
(now I"m not so sure).
I noticed Nutsy my Buff Orpington was missing.
I searched the fields and barn and eventually noticed a small
trail of feathers going off into the neighbors field.
And then there were 7. 
On Saturday, 
Big E and I were at the homestead.
I noticed one of the screens from the coop window had been knocked out.
I blamed it on stupid chickens.
Inside the coop, there was a piece of wood that was screwed in 
around the opening into the run to prevent the bedding from falling through the hole
that had been pulled out.
While I thought it odd, 
I still blamed the chickens as the roo is quite heavy and sometimes sits on the wood piece.
Royal Farms- World Famous Chicken
 In a moment of foreshadowing, 
I mentioned how I'd been pretty pissed if something happened to my favorite hen
named Royal Farms.
She's not just my favorite, she's everyone's favorite.
She is the first to come running over when she sees me, 
and she is always looking to be held or petted.
My brother commented that his friends' kids all love her because she's so nice. 

The next morning- Sunday-
I got a text from my mom letting me know I needed to take care of the chickens.
Big E and I were puzzled how they could be out of food already 
as the new feeders last about a week once filled.
So we went over and found the feeders nearly empty with a large pile
of food on the ground.
I had no clue how the chickens managed to get that much food out of the feeder
since they were designed to prevent food waste.
We didn't count chickens since they were out in the pasture,
and we were on our way to an Eagle Scout ceremony.
A little bit later, I received a call from my mom.
She told me how that morning, 
she found a dead chicken in the coop, bloodied.
While she was getting ready to take care of that chicken, 
she found another ripped to pieces out in the chicken yard.
Two other hens were just missing.
 Lucille, who was the lone survivor of a massacre at my friend's farm, was gone.
 So was the "scalped" chicken I had nursed back from certain death.
And so was Royal Farms.

Now it's time for revenge.
We're pretty certain that the culprit is a raccoon.
It explains why there was a pile of food and why the food disappeared so quickly, 
it explains why the chickens were killed and not carried off,
and it explains what has been digging up a bee's nest in the barn
(we were already sure there was a raccoon going down to the barn already since it was in the cat's water bowl and into the cat food and generally just making a mess of things).
 It's no secret I'm an animal lover.
I love all animals, 
even raccoons.
Me as a kid feeding a wild raccoon
But while the hawk and fox kill my chickens, 
they also only kill what they're going to eat
and they don't leave them.
The raccoon kills as many as it can
and leaves the bodies there.
It's a mass murderer.
A chicken serial killer.
And he's going down.
If the 10 year old has anything to say about it, 
he and his grandfather will be staking out the chicken coop
waiting to shoot the bandit.
While I don't see that happening, 
something is going to be done.