Yesterday I got home from work to find one of my chickens across the road. This isn’t normal.
Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?
They don’t! Never. For any reason. Until yesterday. Panic immediately hit me. The hairs on my arms stood up and my heart started to race.
I called out to Jonny and he crossed the street to help her across safely. I did an immediate scan of the area. There was something white out in the field. A dead chicken…
The coyotes had been here.
Fack! How did we not see it happen? Jonny was home almost the whole day. Sometime between 3:30pm and 6pm one (or several) coyote(s) had come and taken out two of my hens and oh no… where was Foghorn?
Coyotes Don’t Hunt During The Day
Oh yes they do. This is our third coyote attack over the years and it has always been in the middle of the day. I suspect that during the Spring while the fields are getting worked for the first time in the season, it scares the animals out of the bushes around the fields.
This Spring displacement always leads to a lot of wildlife travelling through our property.
Fence Up Your Chickens
That is what a bunch of you are going to be thinking. Truth is that we take the risk because we believe they should be free to roam and forage and dust bath to their hearts content.
This decision come with risks that we prepare for. Over four years we have hardly lost any chickens but there is always the risk.
By the time we had searched the area and assessed the situation we were down two laying hens and Foghorn (our rooster).
There is also one hen missing a bunch of feathers with a cut on her side. I was worried her injuries would be bad and I would have to… you know… “off” her.
I waited until the hens went into bed that night and gently took the hurt hen from her roost and brought her into the house. I brought her upstairs, laid her on her side and covered her head with a towel to keep her calm.
“Do you have the chicken on the bed??” Yells Jonny from the living room. I chuckle “No…”. (I did 😉 ).
I take a deep breath and lift her wing and let out a sigh of relief. She had a pretty big cut on her side but only skin deep. Oh thank god!
On cue, Jonny comes up with a bowl of warm water and the first aid kit. I cut away the feathers near the cut and clean it out gently with some warm water with rubbing alcohol. While I cleaned her gently and Jonny pet her softly she fell asleep, tired from a stressful day.
I gently put her back in the coop and let her get a good nights rest.
This morning I was very happy to see her up and walking around. She hopped out of the coop and was happily eating. Still walking favoring the other leg a little but that was expected.
The ladies are a bit frantic today. Their nerves are frayed and this is their first day not having Foghorn to boss them around. I closed the outdoor pen to keep them from wandering too far and threw them enough kitchen scraps to keep them busy for a couple hours.
I will continue to keep an eye on my injured hen and will bring her in again tonight to make sure the cut is still clean and put a little polysporin on it.
I think a hen who has been through all she has should have a name don’t you? What do you think I should call her?
I will keep you up to date on her recovery and any new developments!
This post can also be seen on: The HomeAcre Hop