Nothing Left But Feathers

feather-only-webYesterday we lost a chicken.   It sucks, no two ways about it.   Based on what was left it was most likely canine who took our hen.   Lots and  lots of feathers, no body.

It is one of the many dangers of letting chickens have free range, especially in the country.   We try to minimize the danger by keeping them confine in the early morning and late afternoon hours.   We have a family of foxes who live on our property and a pack of coyotes who love to sing in the country behind us.   They like easy pickings and we try to avoid making our hens such by keeping them confine  during the “standard” hunting hours.

Fortunately the days are getting longer in Montana.   The sun is rising earlier and earlier in Montana.   It is clearly daylight here at 6 in the morning now.   We love it.          Just because it gets lighter earlier does not mean that Mr. Hunter’s hours are shorter, no it just means that he gets to do some daylight hour hunting.     The mistake was made opening the fence to the chicken run too early yesterday.   It was opened based on daylight not the hour of the day.   We lost a good laying hen.   Hard lesson learned for all of us, look at your watch before you open the chicken gate.

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12 comments on “Nothing Left But Feathers

  1. Condolences on the loss. It doesn’t matter that their usual destination is freezer camp, in the meantime the silly chickens manage to bring pieces of humor and bits of contentment into your life! Perhaps there’s some small comfort that it was a hungry fox rather than a vicious dog, somehow it feels slightly more natural than criminal. RIP

    • You are right it is disheartening that it was a fox rather than a dog. Neither is nice, but know it was a fox feeding its young makes it not a total waste that a dog doing it just for the “fun” of it.

  2. A Mother Earth News article I read this morning talked about Llamas being good livestock to keep as protectors against canine predators – – I had never heard of that before – –
    Mother Earth News – Farming in the Wild

    • They sure can be good livestock protectors. There are some sheep ranchers in the area that we are aware of that use them. Wolves are a huge issue here so everyone is very concern about predator control. So far it is working for them.

    • Thanks. We now know it was a fox, as it turned up this am at 8 and the birds were behind the fence and he was hazed. I am sure it will be back tomorrow again. It knows the first one was easy pickings, now we need to let it know it isn’t worth coming back.

  3. We have just fenced in a huge area for ours as we couldn’t cope with any more losses. It was all due to stray dogs so you couldn’t predict when was safe. Such a horrid sight 😦

    • My birds are lucky they have a large fenced run. After so many years they don’t have much grass left in it even if they do free range every day. In spite of it all they are being confine lots more hours than in the past. You are right seeing the feathers is such a sad sight, and a reminder you failed for a minute.

  4. So sorry! I hate seeing those piles of feathers. Just lost a beautiful rooster and a hen to what I think might be a coyote. And I am keeping a closer watch over the rest of them…until we trap whatever it was…

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