"Darn" is not a word I let me kids say (yet -- some words that aren't necessarily "bad," just don't sound right to me out of the mouth of a 5-year-old ;). Still, I think it's appropriate in this case. The raccoons have found our chickens . . . and have claimed the lives of 5 or 6 of them over the course of the last week. And they've left many more, like the one pictured below, wounded.
I used to think of raccoons as some of our cute little, furry neighbors at the farm. Those days are over. One morning this past week, John opened up the chicken wagon to let the gals out, and once it had cleared out, saw one lady "sleeping" in a nesting box. Upon closer examination, it was apparent that she was dead, but from the front, she didn't seem to be injured. When he pulled her out of the box, though, he saw that she was missing pretty much the entire backside of her body. That means that a raccoon had attacked her from OUTSIDE the wagon, reaching in through the chicken wire and doing as much damage as he could without getting inside. These kinds of gruesome attacks have to stop! We've stepped up security a bit by putting a temporary electric fence back up around the wagon. Considering that we try to move the wagon every 2 to 3 days, moving that fence every time is pretty labor-intensive. Maybe once we get our Great Pyrenees Molly over there, we can back off of the additional fencing.
The gal pictured above seems to have survived an attack but has several wounds around her head. I'm pretty sure she's going to be permanently blind in one eye, too. We moved her into Maggie's old digs in the backyard while she recuperates and figures out how to navigate the world while only being able to see half of it. I have sympathy for her, for sure. ;) It's slow going, but she does seem to slightly improve each day. I'm not sure, though, that she'll ever be capable of surviving among the big flock. Time will tell. ;)