(This post probably deserves a PG rating, at least. It contains photos of dead chickens and a dead weasel. Read no further if that sort of thing bothers you.)
It is a given, living in the sticks and keeping chickens, that a bird will be lost from time to time. I once lost four chickens to a marauding horde of raccoons who tore apart heavy-guage wire mesh panels to get them and I know that a determined predator — especially one with a family to feed — can get into just about any enclosure.
Sometimes we let the chickens out of their pen to forage in the yard and have only been able to shrug when a fox darted out of the woods, grabbed one of our birds, and ran away with it to feed its young. I get that. I can understand it. It happens. At least the fox was killing for a reason.
Dogs, whose owners are sure would never do such a thing, lose their heads around chickens, sheep, cows and deer, killing indiscriminately, for no reason at all, and they have taken a toll on my birds, but this post isn’t about my feelings regarding humans who let their dogs run loose.
Dogs, foxes, bobcats, coyotes, bears, owls and hawks are ever present and we do what we can to keep them away from our birds without breaking the bank. We have a sturdy, six-foot tall fence with the top three feet of wire mesh hung loosely to discourage climbing. Netting and small shelters provide protection against aerial attacks, the doors and windows on the coop are secure and the vents are covered with 1/2-inch mesh. So far, that has proven to be sufficient.
Until this morning. Continue reading