Well, some sad news this week.
One of the chicks disappeared a few days ago. They are about cornish game hen size and something grabbed one..
A raccoon attacked and severely injured the rooster last Monday night. He has been going downhill since then, stopped eating/drinking 2 days ago and was laying under the coop all night last night. I just went out and put him down, he was suffering so much and barely alive.
Good bye Steve the rooster!
Well, just had to interrupt a meeting to go chase of at least one coyote. It was out front chasing the chickens and chicks. I think there were 2 of them and that they got momma moran which is a shame since she's the one reliable enough to raise chicks.. Damn! I counted the rest of the chickens/chicks and she's missing.. I saw a coyote jumping on her while she was in the air, but they went out of view before I could see if the was taken. Then a coyote ran from around the house to the front woods. Not sure if it was the same one, might have had 2 working together.
Time to keep a rifle handy.
5/27: I took out a raccoon last night. damn thing came around at 6 before the chickens were in bed and was chasing the chickens and chicks around when Q heard it and told us. I went out screaming like a berserker with a baseball bat and scared it away.
I hung around outside until the chickens and chicks calmed down, then we watched them to make sure they all went inside which they did. I closed up the coop and we relaxes. We did not loose any of the 5 chicks.
And the raccoon came back, it sat there eating spilled chicken feed for an hr before I quietly walked around the front of the house with the 22 rifle. It saw me as I was lining up my shot and took off up the tree. I was able to get a head-shot and it fell down out of the tree and I finished it off with another head-shot. Unfortunately it was a bloody mess so we decided not to skin it. It was a young female.
We'll see if we get any more that brazen. I setup the leg trap to see if I can get another.
5/29: Went out to release the chickens and they were making a lot of stress noises in the coop, the leg trap got a raccoon. I grabbed the 22 rifle again, lined it up on the head between the eyes and shot it. It died quickly and I took it off to the woods. It was a large female with extended nipples, so it probably has a litter of kits (?).
I'm not happy killing females, but I'm also not happy having them drag my chickens away and eating them. Law of the jungle.
After spending the night in the house on a heating pad, I put the new chick under the hen last night.
Today it seems fine, just not sure how to get down the ramp, so I helped it and mother hen was not too happy about that. Since its a few days behind its siblings, it will need to learn/exercise a lot to build up strength.
There is yet another chick trying to break out of the shell this am, we'll see if it can make it. If it can, I'll bring it inside and put it on a warming pad until its stable enough to go outside.
So, chickens are smart enough to be chickens, barely...
We have 4 chicks that hatched about the same time, we have a maran hen being mother for them. That is good, she's being a good mom, for the most part..
But we have a problem... The coop sits on 4 concrete pillars to give the chickens a place to sit in shade or out of the rain. This works out well, except when we have chicks.
The ramp going into the coop is 5' long and sticks out at a gentle angle, i staple old towels to it when we have chicks so their can get some grip to walk up it.
The mother tries to show them how to get into the coop, but being a full grown chicken means she just jumps up onto the middle of the ramp and wants in. The chicks, being a lot smaller, cannot jump that high so try, then run back and forth pipping for the mother.
She comes back out, squawks at them to follow her, then jumps back up onto the ramp and goes back inside. They try, cannot, and the process starts over.
So we have to assist, we wait for her to go into the coop, run up and quickly close the door, then we chase the chicks around until we catch them and walk them up the ramp to the partially open door.
Or that is how its supposed to work.
How it really works:
Hen tries to get chicks to go up the ramp, finally gives up and beds down on the ground some place (in a semi protected area) and the chicks are happy, pecking the ground and going under her to stay warm.
1 problem: raccoons..
Raccoons would eat them all and be quite happy..
So we chase the hen around and she gets madder than a ... well.. a mad hen..
I catch her (with gloves and long sleeves on) and throw her into the coop and slam the door closed, now she's making a racket in the coop while we run around catching the terrified chicks...
After we put the 1st chick in she calms down, 1 chick is all she needs to mellow out.
We catch the remaining chicks and put them in there...
So I put walls on the ramp so now its more like a cattle chute..
Sometimes 1 of the chicks goes up the ramp with the hen, so the hen is content and quiet and we just have to go round up the chicks and walk them up the ramp.
I'll be glad when they are big enough so we can stop this silliness...
Well, another egg hatched Thursday, but the chick had wry neck and passed away.
Another one hatched yesterday, we brought it in side since there were no hens in the box to sit on it and keep it warm, we put it in a box with a heating pad and towel, we'll take it out to the coop this evening after dark and see if we can food Miss Pissy Hen the mother into accepting it.
I've just refreshed my 4 wasp/yellow jacket traps. I wanted to start early to get the queens as they emerge from hibernation and hopefully reduce the population around the house.
We'll see how successful I am..