Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die

We lost another hen yesterday.    I wrote a few weeks ago about how our hens had started laying eggs, and also about how we’d lost our first hen when she got spooked, separated from the flock,  and ended up getting assassinated in the middle of the night – killed for sport.  Yesterday, another hen – the biggest in the flock – got snatched by something before 4pm, which is to say that it was still light outside.  Unlike the first kill, which was for sport – the culprit left the body, uneaten – this kill seems to be a different beast – there’s nothing but a pile of feathers indicating trouble.    I’m guessing fox, although I heard a coyote right around dusk, which could be the culprit.

This is especially disheartening because it basically means that we can’t let our chickens out to free range anymore.   We have ample land for them to range on, and they stay within 50 yards of the house generally –  but if they’re gonna get snatched by some unknown beast a mere 10 feet from the house during daytime, well, it seems imprudent to subject them to that kind of danger.  The chickens REALLY want to be outside, however, even in the cold weather.   Once the snow comes, it will be a moot point for winter, but it seems like a shame to leave them cooped up come spring.  I’m having trouble coming up with a solution that will be practical: my setup is such that there’s not a good place for me to build an outdoor run for them which would be accessible from their coop-ramp exit to the outdoors.  Me and the Mrs. will continue to brainstorm possible chicken run solutions.

The good news is that most of the hens are laying.  We got 6 eggs on Saturday, 4 on Sunday, and 6 again today.   I’ve been wolfing down omelets like it’s my job, and I’ll have to do more research into how to keep the cooped up hens happy so they keep making me breakfast.



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