Fluffy the Dinosaur, a tale of Survival

Middletown Morrises

In the Brooder
Sep 4, 2017
4
8
18
I’m fairly New to backyard chickening so I Still learn a lot every day. I’ve made mistakes over the past few years such as mixing aggressive breeds with more docile breeds when I wanted to increase my flock/egg production. I spent hours, initially, observing my girls, trying to learn the pecking order, watching their behavior, familiarizing my presence to them and learning their language. i would sit in a chair in their yard with a book, quieting myself until they curiously approached, walking under my chair, pecking at invisible things on my boots. I’ve given too many treats, had birds die from unknown causes refusing my efforts to nurse and revive them. I’ve spent lots of money on failed experiments, on fencing, coop enhancements, live traps, Water and feed systems, and Coop yard Improvements, playground equipment. We have had wars on predititors: rats, raccoons, opossums, possibly a fox, & Coyotes. It is not by any means a professional venture, but I do get enough eggs for my family and sometimes extra for my coworkers, friends, and family.
It all started with a neighbor who Was getting rid of her chickens giving me the girls she had left. It was a solid core group they got along well and were friendly to humans. One by one they passed on and were buried with little hand painted headstones by my artistic and compassionate daughter. Of the twenty, I only have four of the original Brood left.
One of those original girls was named Fluffy. Fluffy had a distinct a personality she was spunky and she was loud and proud and screeched at me when I bothered her, hence the addition of “the dinosaur.” She would get broody on occasion and screeched when I entered the coop to get eggs. She never pecked at me when I lifted her from her box but she certainly made it known I was a pain in her floofy booty!
This year there seem to be more raccoons and skunks than I have ever seen in past years. My neighbors agree that relocating raccoons is just giving my problems to others so when we catch them we put them down. We don’t like to do it but we feel it is the best solution in our area.
About a month ago I went out to collect eggs and there were four raccoons, fairly young, eating out of my feeders. My presence and my yelling did not scare them off. My daughter came up with a great idea of banging metal together to scare them and did so which just drove them further into my coop run to hide. This was scary to me because it meant that no one in my family would be safe Venturing out there and certainly my chickens were not safe, with raccoons in their living area. So we shot those raccoons and realizing that their mother was still around made plans to set traps for the rest. The very next morning my good dog treed the rest of the family, five raccoons, and we disposed of them. I felt like we had the situation under control. But the next week I went out to open my coop and there was a raccoon in my coop and had killed half of my flock.
I was scared, the raccoon was scared
, my girls were scared, and by the time I could get back with a rifle it had escaped. I had six live chickens and one maimed chicken and five dead chickens in my coop. It was a very sad day. I lost most of the originals that day. It felt like old friends were taken.
It was my first time having a major predator inside my coop. I was mad and sad, I felt like a failure and, for the first time ever, WANTED to kill an animal; No regrets. I searched to find how it got in and realized where: through the roof, it had torn away the chicken wire that was stapled to the vents.
All the dead girls basically had their heads removed. I hear this is typical raccoon behavior. I’m glad I got out there when I did or I would have lost them all.
Huddling in the corner with an injured comb, a bloody head, two swollen eyes, her back naked of feathers, and what appeared to be a Severely damaged beak, was my dear Fluffy the Dinosaur. I found her behind a bale of hay when I removed the The rest of the living birds so I could clean the Malay in the coop. I was horrified and fearful she was dying, so I put her in my quarantine cage for safety. I made sure there was food and water hanging for her to get to and left her there while I cleaned up the mess.
All of my living birds behaved differently over the next couple of days. None seemed comfortable Venturing inside the coop, did not want to enter the coop alone, and were more skittish than usual. I was concerned about how to help with this, but over the next few days they seem to relax and are now (two weeks later) back to their normal roosting behavior.
During that first several days my daughter and I watched Fluffy very closely, tried to make sure that she was drinking water, smushed her favorite, blueberries, to encourage her to eat in our presence. I tried to hand feed her greens I had torn into shreds that were dipped into water to try to keep her hydrated in the 90° heat. Over those days she began to make evident that she was eating, she could see again, and though her personality was much subdued, She was still alive and I was hopeful she could pull through. Knowing that no bird had ever survived, in my experience, I was cautious with my expectations.
I had been warned to make sure the flies weren’t getting on her and on day four was horrified to see that I had failed at this and they were maggots in her comb. My brave daughter assisted me and Held fluffy tight while I used some tweezers to pick them out one by one. Looking back, the maggots might’ve been helpful in getting rid of any infection and I was lucky to have caught it and gotten them out when I did. I am including a picture from right around that time of how she was looking.
I am happy to report that the following week, this week, she is jumping up for greens from my treat basket and she has acclimated back into the group, she is spunky, she is full of life, and she’s back to being the bird we know and love.
I feel very lucky and a little proud that she pulled through this traumatic incident. She’s a survivor!!!
Pics: day 4 & day 14–happy in a dust bath!!!
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Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Apr 3, 2011
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So sorry for your loss, but glad that you had some survivors and saved Fluffy the Dinosaur. Raccoons can be very determined predators. You had one of the worst problems with them, so I would make sure that I made the coop and run bery secure.
 

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