A couple weeks ago on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, something or some group of things stopped by the farm and killed 31 of our hens. TTHIRTY ONE. This is by far the largest predator attack we've experienced to date.
Our best guess, based on the killing pattern and approach, is that it was a dog pack of some kind. Two days later, the predators returned for 5 more hens. Thanks to a friend, we've now got a game camera on the chicken field and two live traps set in the area. Still, we've not yet caught our culprit.
Free-range hens are going to attract predators from time to time. We've got some practices in place to limit their access, but we also know that we WILL lose birds. This is one reason we are constantly raising chicks to add to our laying flock.
Speaking of chicks, over the weekend, we moved the Easter chicks out of the barn and into this chicken tractor. They are greatly enjoying the grass!
Early Monday morning, we had a sudden downpour. The chicks' tractor is half covered, so I just assumed that they huddled under cover when the rains came. Nope. Fourteen of the dummies had nearly drowned themselves to death by the time I got out to check on them that morning. They were lying drenched on the grass, barely breathing. I was certain we would lose at least some of them. Still, I carried them to the barn, toweled them off, and put them under a heat lamp. I wish I had a photo of how terribly pathetic they looked because you're unlikely to believe me when you see this next photo.
This is what they looked like 2 hours later -- up and eating and pecking for food and wondering why in the world I had been such a drama queen and brought them into the barn in such a tizzy.
Have I mentioned how much I love my goats? And how much more intelligent they are than these pea brains?
Anyway, I've turned my back for a few minutes to write this post, so I'd better get back to the full time job of keeping these chickens alive.