Monthly Archives: November 2015

HUGE loss

Wednesday another dog got into our chicken pen.  The dog doesn’t eat the chickens, just rips them up. Boomer came home to 7 of our 10 chickens attacked.  One bird was dead, two were tore up pretty bad and 4 had lots of feather loss but seemed ok.  Boomer made the decision to put the two mostly badly hurt birds out of their misery.  I was at work, but we decided that we would put up the supplemental fencing up, the way we do when we go out of town for the weekend.

When I went out the next morning, there was lots of this.

IMG_8294 IMG_8295When I opened the door to the coop, three birds, 1 black bird (dead eyes) 1 barred rock (Ona) and the last Rhode Island Red.  4 birds stayed in the coop, so I opened the BIG door to find one of the white birds still on the roost (that’s weird), big pretty not moving around much, the other white bird just standing around and the black bird (tipsy) looking like it’s behind was hanging down.

IMG_8288I irritated them all to get out so I could give them the once over.

IMG_8297I couldn’t get this one to stay out of the coop, the back side just didn’t look right, it seemed like something was “dripping” from back there, so I knew this one had to be put down.  And big pretty was just standing still, closing her eyes, looking rough.

IMG_8292You can see there is a big chunk out of her back.  I was out there for an hour, watching to see, who would eat, drink, scratch or peck.  The black bird and big pretty didn’t  do much of anything.  After talking to boomer we agreed that the two birds needed to be put down.

I won’t go into details, but I do have a few thoughts on my experience.  First, I am so thankful to have friends like Brent and Anna at Bramble Hollow Farms for being such great teachers/mentors in our lives.  I knew what to do and how to do it as fast and as humanely as possible, to minimize trauma to both the bird and myself.   Second, this was the first time I killed something other than a bug on purpose on my own.  And not just some random living being, but a couple of birds that I have been responsible for, since they were a couple days old.  It sucked.  I apologized to the birds for not taking better care of them, thanked them for all the eggs and hoped they would be relieved once they were out of pain.

We have had an attack on our chickens every year, losing 5 in 24 hours is a big loss.  HUGE loss.  We are trying to decide if keeping birds free range is worth it. 364 days a year it works out great, 1 bad day ruins that idea of free range.  I don’t necessarily want to keep chickens if we can’t let them free range.


IMG_8148Big pretty going thru the molt…she was neither big nor pretty then.


IMG_8076Tipsy, because she had little white tips on her longest wing feathers. Her comb never got bigger than this.