At some point during the wee hours of this past Sunday morning, some predator(s) got into our bird pen and killed / took 16 of our female chickens. This included all of our laying hens, plus two chicks. All 7 of our ducks survived, as did our two roosters and one baby chick. We don’t know what type of predator it was, whether there were multiple of them, where / how they got inside our fencing. Maybe a weasel? We aren’t long-time bird owners, but have gotten the impression that this sort of catastrophic event isn’t uncommon.
Anyway, so Sunday was a sad day for us. We’ve had plans to build a larger set of pens (75′ x 50′ each) to accommodate additional birds. (Egg sales have been going well at the market.) So we went ahead and constructed the first of those 3 pens Sunday, but added a layer of chicken wire at the base of the pen to make it harder for animals to get under the fence. We want to try to form a fairly tight seal between fence and ground around the perimeter.
As a result of this attack, we don’t currently have any chicken egg production, so we won’t be offering chicken eggs at the farmer’s market for the time being. Our ducks are still laying, though there has been a dip in production, presumably due to the trauma over the weekend. But we do plan to bring duck eggs to market this coming Saturday.
We plan to replace our female chicken flock, though the new birds may be a mix of chicks and currently-laying females. We’ll keep you posted on progress.