When we made the decision to let our chickens be free range, we knew that the freedom would be coupled with a bit of risk. But rather than fence in our flock and restrict their ability to stretch their legs, graze at will, and discover the farthest reaches (and the resident grasshoppers) of the garden, we made the conscious choice of good health and happy chickens that come with a free range philosophy.
The trade-off, of course, is that the birds are unprotected while they are out and about during the daylight hours. Sadly, that risk recently became reality. We suspect that the neighborhood escape artist/live-stock chaser of the canine persuasion might be the mongrel responsible. But we don’t know for sure what animal attacked the flock and killed four hens and Kung Pao Chicken, our much-loved rooster.
We think that the attack was from a dog, rather than a wild animal, because the dead chickens were all left in the yard. So it appears the attacker was in it for sport rather than for food. Which, of course, makes the loss that much more hurtful for us.
As you might remember, Kung Pao Chicken came to live with us more than a year ago and quickly impressed Ben with his smarts. At the time, we didn’t have a coop and KP was a bachelor living on his own—and roosting each night in the branches of the evergreen outside our bedroom window. When it got really cold last winter, KP moved into the basement for a couple of days (did you see the video of him crowing in the dog crate on our Facebook page last winter?). And when spring rolled around, we brought him the harem of hens we’d been promising all winter. We did a blog post with a great video of his swanky strut while he introduced himself to the ladies. Hilarious!
We are so sad to lose our marvelous Cockamamy icon—and the handsome devil who inspired our logo. Kung Pao Chicken was protective of his flock, but a complete gentleman to us humans. He died while defending his ladies and we—as well as his hens—are so sad to say goodbye so soon.