Sadly, this has often been the scene in our backyard in recent months ~ feathers in a frenzied path, and one or two less chickens in the coop. We've had fourteen hens for over a year now, but now we're down to.............THREE.
While it appears that we are terrible chicken parents, the truth is that we (Robert) have worked very hard to protect them ~ always investigating where the breech in the chicken wire may be, and then reinforcing it with staples, boards, nails, etc. Seems we are dealing with a very vicious predator here, or at least a VERY hungry one. Just take a look at the most recent opening our feisty fox fiend found....
Can you see where he dug under the framed fencing of the coop yard? I can't believe a fox can crawl through that small opening, go into the small door to the coop, grab a chicken, and then drag it out into the yard to gobble it up! Wow. We did confirm that it is indeed a fox, because we ran into our two-doors-up neighbor on Sunday while out for an evening walk. She was setting her recycle bins out on the curb for Monday morning pick-up and said "Did that fox get some of your chickens?"
"That fox got A LOT of our chickens," we answered. Then she proceeded to tell us that they'd heard the squawking skirmishes through their open windows at night (not the first time they've mentioned their open windows and our chickens), and that one night the fox ended up on their porch while in pursuit of a chicken that was "roosting" in a flimsy nearby tree in efforts to get away from Mr. Fox. We are always oblivious to all outside noises, because of the fans we have running at night, which have recently multiplied in number due to the summer season's arrival. (Robert's usual love of white noise + no air conditioning = we would not hear a freight train if it came down Rt. 9.)
I've thought about leaving a fan on their front porch with a love note from our chickens, but instead I've often found myself clapping or throwing rocks from the back door to get the feathered ladies to stop their daybreak clucking for the sake of the two-doors-up neighbors. The very next door neighbor happens to love the chickens ~ even when they come grazing in her backyard.
Good thing our town just passed a backyard chicken ordinance allowing even folks who live in the downtown area to have up to 14 chickens, otherwise these last three may have been gobbled up by the Krum fam.
In other backyard news: Kayla and her Daddy went to Home Depot to buy a few flowers for a small planter by our front door. There were a couple of flowers left over, so she decided to decorate Buddy's grave , which is in the backyard and near the chicken coop.
She surrounded it with some of his old toys. So sweet.
Hoping to hang on to our last three hens until next spring, when we'll probably start over again with a new batch of baby chicks ~ everyone's favorite part of owning chickens!