backyard chickens · Chickens · hatching eggs · homesteading · permaculture · raising chickens

It’s been a tough week for the chickens

Well, I half-way figured out why my pullets died but it doesn’t bring me much comfort. I went out last night around 5PM and everything was well. Sometime before midnight it began to rain and a thunderstorm blew over. Let me tell you this was like no other thunderstorm I’ve seen here. It was angry and long lasted. I went outside around midnight to make sure the pullets were in the coop because up until now they’ve been sleeping outside in the run, even in the rain. I was happy to see the older hens had let them in… what I wasn’t happy with was the fact Henny Penny and Titus, my elderly Serama pair, were gone. The cage I was keeping them in was completely obliterated, a whole side ripped off. Their food, water, and nest box were outside the cage and the cage itself was up-side-down and they were nowhere to be seen. I was a bit horrified. What had broken in?? And where did they go?? I searched the trees and yard in the dark and rain but I couldn’t find them. I thought that some wild animal had dragged them off into the night and I came inside pretty depressed. Loosing four chickens in one week is a bit much.

The rain was coming down hard, flooding the whole yard. At around 4AM I heard a massive crash. The lightning had hit something near by. I went outside again to see if everyone was OK and to my surprise there was Henny Penny and Titus sleeping on top of the run I was building! They were drenched… four hours of bone chilling torrential rain had made them into a watery mess. I immediately picked them up and put them in the shed to dry off. Four hours later when I got up for the morning they were still wet! I didn’t know if they had it in their aging bodies to fight such a bad storm… so I made them breakfast – scrambled eggs, a tomato, a slice of 12 grain bread. I was delighted to hear Titus proudly warbling as I put it in their cage. He’s so talkative when he’s happy! Henny Penny dove into the scrambled eggs like she hadn’t eaten in a month. They stuffed themselves. I think they’re going to be just fine but they did have me up and worrying most of the night.

And here’s where it gets interesting… if a wild animal had broken into their cage there’s no reason on this planet why both of them should be still alive without a scratch on them, however I have been struggling to keep a loose dog off my property as of late. I find it suspicious that when my pullets died they had done so only when my dog was absent. I think now they were scared to death by this damn mongrel. I’m not happy. Pepper also came in last night with a bite on her neck… she must have been scrapping with another dog during the day. This is ridiculous! I should not have to worry about my dog and chickens being attacked by someone’s loose dog that wanders into our yard! Pepper and the chickens stay in our yard. Other people should have the common sense to keep their dog in theirs. If I catch that infernal beast whose been harassing my chickens I will be making an angry call to the dog officer. I am tired of dealing with other people’s BS.

In the meanwhile I have been so out of it I forgot to refill the water in the incubator and managed to kill the five home-laid eggs and most of the shipped ones. Four still look viable. I don’t function well with three weeks of sleep deprivation. That last week seemed like one really long day. I’m not happy with myself either way but I suppose I won’t forget now! The sad thing is they would have probably been fine if they were normal eggs but I find the Seramas seem to need a very high humidity all the time. I talked to the woman I ordered some hatching eggs off of and she said she’s going to try and send me half a dozen Barnevelder and half a dozen Golden Cuckoo Marans. I’m excited, plus this gives me a deadline to finish my laying girls’ much bigger run. I am planning on dividing it into two pens to make introductions easier. We’ll see how that goes!