@artsyrobin sorry about Galahad... he was a beautiful boy!
@i-love-my-honey Sorry about your losses too, and good luck on your hunt. I've had to shoot several dogs over the past few years. Some stray and I'm sure a couple have been from neighbors that can't keep their dogs on their property. You can do it!
I saw a bald eagle about a week ago. It's the first time I've ever seen one. I've only been in OK about 5 years and have never seen an eagle of any kind in anything other than pictures. It was beautiful and huge. I saw it in the morning but I guess I scared it off and only got to see its back end so I thought it was a really big hawk. About an hour later I went out to check on the girls and got a good look at it as it was flying toward the lake. I feel lucky that it didn't take any of my free range layers.
I did actually lose 2 speckled sussex hens recently, but not to predators. They were only 1.5 - 3 years old and died in their sleep. The first I lost about a week or so ago and the last was a couple of nights go. They have several acres to free range on and this was their favorite thing to do. Strip the laves off a couple of tomato plants that are growing near the coops. They had not been well the day before they died and weren't moving around much. They just laid down near one of the waterers the whole day and weren't running around with the flock the day/night they died. I think I read somewhere that the leaves on tomato plants are toxic so I wonder if that had anything to do with it. After she passed I ripped those 2 plants out and got rid of them thinking it may have had something to do with it. If anything I hope it was something genetic and not contagious so that the rest of my free rangers don't suffer the same fate.
I had really bad luck with speckled sussex hens from "my pet chicken". I got them from a hatchery because they were just going to be part of a free range layer flock and we wanted something pretty to look at. I got 5 pullet sand 1 cockerel. 1 didn't make it which is expected when you get day olds in the mail. Out of the 5 left 2 turned out to be cockerels, 4 out of 5 had crooked and curly toes and 1 had a pendulous crop. The only one without crooked toes was the cock so I put him over the 1 SS girl who's toes weren't too crooked and hatched a few to see if they had the same toe problems and sure enough all the babies grew up to have slightly crooked toes. Well I am down to 1 SS girl and I think if I want anymore I will get them from a breeder, even if they are just going to be layers and not a part of a breeding program.