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.
You might have a mink problem on your hands or it could have been a dog. A mink would have killed them by the neck only for the blood. A fox or raccoon would have made a meal of them right there (or drug them off) and you would have nothing but a pile of feathers and bones. We always lock our girls and roo up at night. Free range during the day, but kept tight at night.
Thanks, Kristin! We never even considered a mink! This attack happened in the middle of the afternoon, with Ben at home and the dogs inside the house—he said they never uttered a single bark. And yes, we definitely lock everyone up tight in the coop at night, but let them roam in the daylight hours. Hope all is well with your flock!
RIP King Pao.
I feel your loss. My hubby came home to what we believe was a coyote attack. Our younger lab actually popped the stitching on his collar (he was on a cable in fenced area of the yard) and went thru the chicken wire on the tube gate to protect our chickens. Broad daylight. Our older lab couldn’t get off his cable but you could tell he was trying he has trench where he was pulling to get traction. Apparently he saw a coyote on the farm north of us, just to make sure we let the lab that got loose in with the chickens and just sniffed and let the rest be. So we KNOW it wasn’t him, and I am so grateful he got loose!
Oh gosh! A close call for sure!! You have good dogs!!