I work last night to the sound of a chicken screaming. I ended up outside with my dog, racing through cold, wet grass toward our trees and the sound of the chicken screaming. Our other chicken had bolted into the house as soon as we opened the door.
My headlight bounced across the grass and trees. We ran and the chicken screamed.
Our chickens are pets. Back before shifting to a plant-based 99% vegan diet, I used to eat eggs. We’ve had at different points up to eight chickens, lost a few to various things, but on two occasions predators have attacked our birds, killing most of the flock. One chicken has survived the entire time. Patti is a tough barred rock hen that has managed to elude or avoid predators each time. She’s survived.
Patti was the chicken smart enough to come to the door of the house so that she could bolt inside.
Last night, I reached our path into the woods and plunged in along with my dog. The neighbor’s dogs barked at the fence—where the screaming was coming from. My first thought was that the dogs had come under the fence and were trying to pull the chicken through the fence. When I reached her I realized that wasn’t the case. She cowered against the fence, screaming, and the dogs were trying to see what was going on.
That was Third, one of our youngest hens, and the other survivor of the last attack. She was bleeding. Her beak was damaged.
I carried her back to the house, left her with my wife, and went back out with our dog. We patrolled up through the woods, circling the property to see if coyotes or dogs had dug beneath (that happened last time). We didn’t find anything.
Back at the coop, I saw that eggs left in the coop had been eaten. That led me to think that a raccoon ate the eggs and then went after the hens. Patti had lost feathers but got away. Third had either run for the woods or had been carried there, being hurt in the process.
Both hens spent the rest of the night in the house in individual cardboard boxes. Third is now in a secure cage outside, Patti in the coop. I’m not sure if Third will make it given the damage to her beak, but we’ll see.
Not the best night!
Excited to see this is coming to Netflix!
This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.