chicken feathers after predator attack
chicken feathers after predator attack

See all the feathers in the chicken run?  We were fortunate last night that feathers were all that were lost!  At 1 am, a horrible screeching sound woke us.  We knew immediately that something must be attacking the chickens.  Papa ran out there with the rifle and spotlight.  Whatever animal was able to gain access to the coop ran off before he got there.  I’m sure I heard something climb down a tree just a few minutes later, so our best guess is that it must have been a raccoon.  Or could have been a possum or cat.  I guess we’ll never know.

As of this morning, everyone is fine. Henrietta will be sore for a while.  Those are her feathers you see and she also has some scratches and bite marks.  It could have been a lot worse.  We could have lost one of the chickens.  We could have lost several of them.  Papa says he’ll have to be more careful about locking down the coop at night.  All we lost this time was several hours of sleep. (Ever try to get back to sleep immediately after something wakes you like this? Next to impossible.)

Our last rooster Barney (in front, right) needs to go soon. Not only does he “attack” the hens so often that some have no feathers on their backs anymore (they’ll need time to regrow before winter), but he was absolutely no help last night.  Roosters are supposed to be good about raising the alarm or even fighting predators to protect their hens.  No alarm.  No fighting.  Apparently, he only knows how to fight other roosters – or humans he thinks are infringing on his hen-dominion.

Oh, and our watchdog?  He was sound asleep.  I tried for several minutes to wake him because Papa knew he’d find the scent of our predator.  It wasn’t until Papa came back to bed that he suddenly caught a whiff of something.  Too late, buddy.  In his defense, traveling always wears him out, and we’d just come back from 3 days away from home.  It’s tough work keeping track of your family, being a co-pilot for (part of) the ride home, sleeping in a strange bed, etc.  But I’m sure his nose was in over-drive this morning when he got up!

Charlie ready to go home

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