Remember Speckled Hen laying eggs in the freezer room? Yeah, special chicken. Well, we have been having a predator issue. We have lost most of our chickens to neighbor’s dogs, coyotes, and perhaps, a large feral dog. So we put up more fencing and started letting the chickens out later, when the predators should be sleeping.
On e Tuesday morning, as M3 was putting the donkeys to pasture (sun up over the mountain), he heard a loud, noisy chicken ruckus. As he looked up towards the house he saw a grey canine running across our yard along the irrigation ditch with Speckled Hen in it’s mouth. He startled the animal (coyote or feral dog?) and chased it off. When M3 returned to the area of the chicken ruckus, he found Speckled Hen under some weeds.
One leg was injured, but not broken and she had some tooth marks on her back side, in addition to having lost most of her tail feathers. However, she was well enough to evade M3 in his attempts to catch her. He gave up and went to work. When we returned, our white rooster, Griffin, was guarding her as she rested near the front porch. The other hens attacked her any chance they got, reacting to their ingrained instincts to kill the weak.
Together, with a round of chickenwire, we caught her and placed her in a large, straw-lined cat carrier. Provided with food and water, we placed her, carrier and all, in the freezer room up on the freezer so she could see out during her convalescence. She stayed in her little box for 3 nights. Then we released her during the day to be with the flock, or not, as she chose. Each night, she returned to the freezer room instead of the hen house. So, we put her in the carrier over night.
The following Tuesday, the unknown canine assailant returned and took Griffin. We added more fencing and now only allow chickens out of their chicken yard when we are home. The entire property is fenced, but that isn’t keeping the predators out. Even peeing on the fence posts is not dissuading the predators from trespassing. Sigh…..
After three weeks, Speckled Hen has started to grow out her feathers, her leg has completely recovered, and she is back to sleeping in the hen house. However, she is still laying her eggs in the freezer room.