It was a sad weekend here. We lost two roosters over two nights to what we believe is a single predator. What makes it even harder is that we knew that one of the coop doors needed repair and our delay in fixing it properly cost us.
In the banty coop, a predator got through our temporary door fix. Inside, there were feathers and signs of blood, but no Klee. Clover, another bantam rooster bore a bloody comb. We let all of the banties out of their run to free range as usual while I took the door entirely off its hinges and brought it up to the house to repair.
All day, our little chickens kept close to the house, at times loitering on the front stoop (not the best place for chickens), as if to stay as far away from the coop as possible. They don?t particularly like being wet, but even wet, sloppy snow did not drive them back to their coop.
When it was time to put everyone in for the night, Paul and I had to herd the bantys toward the coop. We worked very slowly and calmly. Shadow (my favorite little hen), was the first to hop up and stand in the doorway. She stayed there for the longest time, peering into the dim coop. Ultimately, I stepped in behind her and coaxed her in. Over the next ten minutes, the rest of the banty flock slowly returned to the house, one by one.
The next morning, I found tracks all around the chicken coops. The predator returned to the scene of the crime hoping for another meal. What I suspected was a weasel, looks more like a skunk according to the animal track guide.
The this morning, Gilfy, one of our large roosters, went missing.
Granted, we had too many roosters. However, these chickens were special. Klee was Shadow’s first baby hatched here on the farm. Gilfy was one of my first hatchlings with the incubator. Both were entertaining, silly, gentle roosters.
Now that we’re as certain as we can be that everyone is safe, the dilemma is what to do about a skunk that is used to finding a free meal here. And of all predators to have to deal with – a skunk!