Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All that remains...

..are a few feathers. From eight birds.


The gate was locked

although the fence had a weak spot

I don't know how many there were or if it was the work of a lone fox. I am devastated to have lost every single one of my chooks. The chook pen was silent when I went out to feed them and there were feathers scattered everywhere. The only consolation was that the attack had obviously been for food and not sport as there were no remains aside from the feathers.

What a waste.

I know it's just the food chain at work and I am being a hopeless romantic but these birds were special to me. They knew the drill. The ISA's were my gardeners, going to work for me each day in the chook dome to till the soil and clean up pests. The eclectic remainder were my fruit tree pest controllers, dust-bathing on the slope and cultivating around the trees to keep the weeds at bay.

Eggs were icing on the cake.

Manure was a bonus.

Catching sight of them through the kitchen window added joy to my day.

They will all be missed.

Goodbye Mr Green. I will miss your handsome presence, hearty crow and funny little dance that you do.

Goodbye dear, sweet black orphington bantam. You weren't with us for long but we enjoyed having you here.



Goodbye dear, dear Violet. This is breaking my heart. You were my favourite. I will miss your flapping antics, funny expressions and beautiful blue eggs.

I'm so very sorry to have this happen to you all. After four years of not a single fox attack on our chook pen, I thought we were safe. Obviously not.

People reading, if you keep poultry, please, please check your fencing mesh and make sure there are NO weak spots where a fox can dig and slither underneath. Your girls are dependant on you.

43 comments:

  1. So sorry for the loss. I have experienced the same. They are such fascinating creatures, I could watch them for hours.

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  2. I'm so sorry for your hens, I'm heartbroken for you.
    It shows you in a most painful way not to be complacent, if that 's the right word when keeping livestock that are favoured by wild predators.
    As you say they are part of the food chain and probably have cubs to feed too.
    Don't let it put you off keeping chickens will you?

    Hugs,

    Sandie xx

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  3. Me too...I lost my rooster and three hens recently. It was horrible. *hugs* I hope it doesn't put you off keeping chooks.

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  4. Oh, I'm so very sorry :( What a sad day for you and your family. Our chickens feel like part of the family (they are strictly layers and gardeners, too) and it would be terrible to lose them. Thank you for the reminder about not being complacent - I will check our fencing today.

    Hugs,

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  5. Christine, I am so sorry...what an awful thing to wake up to. I remember this happening to my nana's flock of chickens, all of them gone in just one night...and they are all funny, each one with little quirks...I hope you cant get some more girls for your family very soon...Suzanne

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  6. So sorry for you. What a loss.
    I so enjoyed reading about your feathered friends from their grub eating to award winning egg laying.
    I hope that when you feel ready, you add some more 'girls' to you menagerie.
    Take care

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  7. That had to be devastating. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  8. I am so sorry for your loss! This is the heartbreaking side of having "livestock" - and I use the quotes because we all know how dear these critters can be, and more like companion animals than "stock" of any sort.

    Just last night I had to stumble out of bed after midnight to go outside and check goats and chickens, because my dog was barking madly. Coyotes, bears, raccoons, foxes, great horned owls...all we can do is try our best, right? And give our animals the best day-to-day quality of life we can, which you certainly did.

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  9. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sad when a wild bird dies in my garden or the cat behind me hunts them so I can imagine how it must be to lose ones that are so dear to you.

    ShelaghC

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  10. hi christine
    i am so sorry for your loss.what a sad day for you and your family.
    hugs regina

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  11. My eyes are clouded with tears for you....I am so sorry Christine.

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  12. Oh dear...I am so sorry. This is never easy.

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  13. So sorry to hear about this disaster. I often look at your site - I'm on a small bush block in SE Vic - but no chooks yet - not been here very long. Heartfelt hugs going out to you.

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  14. Oh Christine, I'm so sorry to hear this. I know how much you value your girls and that is just to heart breaking to find nothing but feathers.
    Sending you a huge hug and I hope your kids are ok.

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  15. Oh no!! Oh Chris, I'm so sorry...just devastated for you and the family. This is such a huge loss, I can't imagine how we'd be if that happened to us. Poor little chookies... :(

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  16. Sorry to hear about your loss Christine, very sad. Sending hugs

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  17. Oh Christine, what a terrible thing to find, my heart goes out to you. {{{HUGS}}}

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  18. So sorry to hear about your feathered babies.

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  19. Devastating! This happened to us once when we kept chooks. How sad.

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  20. I have had the same except I think we had young fox pups as they killed the chooks but then left them. Some serious rebuilding of the chook pen happened after that - tin buried into the ground, heavy steel girders on other bits. So far, fingers crossed, we haven't had a problem. I'm so sorry for your loss. Chooks do become pets and they are missed.

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  21. Oh no Christine, I am devastasted for you.

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  22. I hate the bloody fox, they are not a natural part of our food chain, they have had too many of my birds this year too. Makes me wish I could shoot them. That is just so sad that the fox got all your lovely chooks.

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  23. i can empathise with you because the same happened to my flock of 9 girls and our rooster Cashmere..my children and i adored them all but Cash was a little extra special because he had been part of an imprinting (psychology) experiment at my daughters school (i had a major problem with the concept and i even called the RSPCA to complain..that was 15 years ago) where all the children were given a chick..hers was the only one to survive and she raised him in her bedroom and took him everywhere..even to the movies..she often carried him on her shoulder and as she had long hair his presence was only given away by the trill he used to make..he survived a dog attack and getting stuck under the verandah boards for several days but not the fox attack..i still feel sad all these years later.. jane

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  24. Oh dear, that is awful news. Poor hens and poor you - what a sad day. Hugs from me too.

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  25. At least they had a much happier life than they would have if they were battery hens.

    What a nasty shock you must have had....

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  26. Oh Christine, I am so very, very sad to see your beautiful friends end their happy lives in this manner.
    Thinking of you all today with love,
    coffeee Sue
    xxx

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  27. Oh you poor thing. My thoughts with you.

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  28. Warm hugs and thoughts coming your way. I would donate a chicken to start off your new flock but from QLD that is not really practicle.

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  29. We had this happen to us a few years back. It is very heart breaking, I feel your loss :(

    Sounds to me like it could have been mother fox and cubs. And they may be back even though there is no chooks left for them to feast on.

    We had to completely fox proof our chook house and have not had any problems since. I did a blog about it here:

    http://outbacktania.blogspot.com/2009/01/fox-proofing-our-chook-house.html

    x

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  30. Oh Christine! I'm so sorry this happened to you guys. How tragic. Thinking of you my sweet friend. T. x

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  31. Oh no! There are few things that happen in the backyard as painful as this. I'm so sorry, Christine. {{Hugs}}

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  32. Thankyou all - I'm truly overwhelmed. It is comforting to know that some of you have gone through similar experiences and that we're not alone. This was our first attack and it shocked us all.

    I caught sight of the fox last night around 6 o'clock when I was driving out the driveway, it was stuck in the headlights just staring at me, headed for the chookpen - obviously coming back for seconds.

    I spent the day clearing out the pen and it was very sad to come across the different coloured feathers and to establish where each girl had met her end. I'm glad to have done this though as it helped me come to terms with it. What was most difficult though as I pottered around outside the pen later was the silence of my morning. No crowing, no cluck-clucking. Just silence.

    I have also realised that we won't be able to let our cat outside at night for a brief scamper before bed anymore. She is very old and 100% deaf and would have absolutely no defences if a fox snuck up on her. Not going to risk that!

    Thanks so much again for your kind words, they are very, very comforting. xx

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  33. bugger! Such pretty chooks and yummy eggs. Won't be the same at vegie group without them. Thinking of you.

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  34. Oh wow that would be heart breaking (((HUGS)))
    Oh the silence (cry)

    Love Leanne

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  35. I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your chickens. We lost all of ours around this time last year, and we lost one last weekend to our dogs. Someone hadn't closed the gate to the chicken house properly and we think Maude has woken up in the morning and wandered out and past where the dogs sleep, locked up, during the night. My son let the dogs out as normal and they obviously went straight after her. We didn't get to her in time unfortunately. I can't blame the dogs, really, and all we have to do is not be so complacent about putting the chain on the gate from now on. Take care. It took us (read, me) about 6 months to jumping in and buying more chooks.

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  36. Oh Christine, how devastating. Sorry to hear about losing your little feathery gang. We haven't ventured into chooks yet because we have a dog. Even though he is old I think the temptation to have chicken dinner would be too much for him. Once he is gone we will look into getting some lovely ladies to roam our backyard.

    I have such fond memories of having a pet chicken when I was young. My sister incubated her hens eggs in an old electric fry pan in her kitchen, because the hens were only sitting for a short time. One day we came home and one of the chicks was just hatching, so, I helped the chick out of her shell. She imprinted with me and thought I was her Mumma Chicken, it was so cute all I had to do was tap on the floor with my finger and she came scooting.

    At the time we had backyard ladies, but Chickadee lived in the house with us until she reached point of lay. Then she went to live with the big girls. She would still follow me around and come for cuddles. She was so sweet. She was a wonderful Mumma chook and lived to a ripe old age and was buried in Mum and Dad's backyard when her time came.

    Sorry for the ramble. Hope you can move on from your devastation and enjoy the clucks and crowing of some new chickens soon.
    Cheers, Deb

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  37. Oh Christine, I'm so sorry to read about your chooks. It is heartbreaking, and I've been through it several times when I raised chooks as a kid. We also lost a family of guinea pigs.

    I hope in time you can welcome new feathered friends into your family.

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  38. Oh Christine, I am sad for you and for your chookies... my heart would be breaking too, there is nothing I can say to take an ounce of the hurt away, but I wish for every joyful memory you have of them to wrap around you and bring you some comfort.

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  39. Thankyou for your kind words, ladies, your thoughts are so very much appreciated.

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  40. I just found your blog from Rhonda Jean. I am sorry to read of your loss. I had a similar experience last year. Ours was neighborhood dogs that got loose. They killed for sport.
    We had 4 that survived, however, all but one was injured.

    These birds got me through my husband's deployment and the death of my grandfather. I never realized how much I was attached to them until I lost them. I was a wreck. I couldn't think of replacing them for a long time.

    I can relate to the quiet. It was so hard to even look out the window for the longest time. They gave me such a joy to watch.

    Bless you and your family.

    http://simpler-and-greener-life.blogspot.com/

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  41. i am so sorry. i lost several of mine to a dog and it is heartbreaking i agree.

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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