Terrible news has come from across town. Three chicken coops have been invaded by a weasel and the flocks had been wiped out. I got news yesterday from Viola that her flock was attacked in the night. She had a mixed flock of about 20 girls. Only 3 escaped harm. When she arrived at her coop, she noticed bodies and feathers everywhere. Thankfully, the children were not home. Not knowing what to do or where to start, she ran to her neighbor’s house.
Together, they began to clean up the coop and run. As she was picking up the bodies, she had discovered that her beloved rooster, Dusky, was still barely alive. Slowly dying, she held him. He was probably responsible for saving the lives of her three remaining girls, her Hamburg and two buff Orpington pullets. Dusky had always had a sweet spot in Viola’s heart and now, he was near the end. He passed on as Viola was desperately trying to reach her husband and physician friend to help ease Dusky’s transition.
Thoughts are that the same weasel is responsible for Viola’s tragedy. The birds were left, no bodies were taken. As I have been talking with Viola, she believes that the weasel was able to access the chickens through their pop-up door. You see, Viola and her family are moving a few streets away. She had been busily setting the new coop at her new location and the old home is now vacant except for the chickens out back. The dog is away and so are her cats. They are already at the new house. The night of the attack, she did not lock the girls up.
Viola’s loss is a terrible reminder on how important it is to lock-up our flocks and do our best to prevent predators. Weasels can be tough. Even with doors locked, they can fit through 1 inch openings. Please take the time today to examine and investigate any tiny openings in and around your coop and run that you have been meaning to fix. Your flock’s life may depend on it.
Today, I am helping Viola to rebuild her flock. Her remaining girls are safe in her garage. She is taking the Hamburg to the vet today for a foot injury that most likely occurred in the invasion. She is placing an order for new chicks and we will be taking a visit over to my friend’s farm where she raises Silkies. I am happy to be there for Viola who inspired me to take the first step on my own adventures with backyard chickens.