Use my loss as your wake up call

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chickybaby, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. Chickybaby

    Chickybaby In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2008
    NC - paradise!
    [​IMG] I have to say, my first year raising chickens was pretty successful. I was really proud of myself, got complacent and stopped being diligent - as you NEED to be when caring for chickens, or any animals for that matter. This year, however, has presented problems that I never imagined and this is why I write now. My chickens enjoy a good life, well, what I considered a good life - locked up tight at night and free ranging from morning 'til night. Until early summer, when chickens started disappearing one by one. [​IMG] A couple were killed by snakes in the coop, but that's no longer a problem... we lost a few others with no apparent cause sporadically, but mostly they just disappeared without a trace. No feathers, no signs of struggle, nothing, just gone... Had to be a hawk! So a few months later I decided to keep them locked in their pen. They all but stopped laying, so I knew they weren't happy, but I was tired of finding them gone one by one. [​IMG] Then one day I noticed a small hole in the coop door, no big deal, I thought, I'll take care of it when I get some time. Well, I didn't find any time and the hole got a little bigger... couple inches, not to worry... Well, I went out to feed Monday morning only to find the hole was filled up alright, with the remains of my Blue Splash Cochin rooster, Hairy. And inside the coop was his mate, Henrietta, looked like her neck was broken... Whatever "it" was (I suspect a coon, but I'll never really know) "it" had scratched the hole bigger and was able to reach inside and tried to pull him out! [​IMG] Broken hearted, I looked around to find somehting to fill the hole. It had been raining and it was cold and I really didn't want to make a big production. I saw some bricks outside the coop, so I took them and laid them on the inside of the door (door frame is 2x4) until the hole was filled. They weighed a good bit, couldn't push them out easily, so I called it a day until I discovered that if you didn't close the coop door carefully, the bricks would fall out. So, I was just careful for the next few days.... Until last night, when DH came in and told me he had locked up the chickens. I didn't think a thing about it until, well, this morning when I discovered 3 more dead chickens inside the coop. I had forgotten to tell him about the bricks and they fell out and the hole was now triple the size it was earlier in the week. [​IMG] [​IMG] Had I only taken the 5 minutes it took to replace the wood, as I did this afternoon, I could have prevented this. [​IMG] Instead I used a quick fix, just like I didn't take action when my birds first started disappearing, and the end result is I am mad, I mean MAD at myself, heartbroken, my son is heartbroken, and my chickens are dead or gone. Please, please, please, don't let my loss be for naught. When something starts to go wrong, and it WILL, take steps right away - whatever that may be. If there is something broken or damaged, fix it NOW, and don't wait for the weather to clear or warm up. All it takes is a small opportunity for a predator to take advantage, and once they know the chickens are there, they don't stop. I'll be replacing the entire door this weekend, but the wood I screwed in for now is plenty strong. And I have learned my lesson, for good... at the expense of my chickens. Don't let this be you...

  2. dickies chics

    dickies chics Songster

    Nov 7, 2009
    Baldwinville MA
    sorry for your loss. hope you have better luck in the future.
  3. technodoll

    technodoll Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    I am so very sorry for your loss and heartbreak [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I would be extremely devastated if anything happened to one of my birds!

    They free-range most of the day but I go out to count them a few times, if one is missing I'll go find her and bring her back to the flock. I'm always scared a predator will get them and each day pray they will be safe.

    Rats have been chewing their way into the coop and each single morning I patrol every square foot inside and screw down thick planks of wood over any existing holes. It's a crap job but lives I'm responsible for depend on it.

    I'm so sorry your lesson had to be so tough [​IMG]
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    OUCH, sorry for your loss
  5. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    So sorry for your loss.
    I live in fear that something will happen to my girls. If I wake in the night and can't remember for sure if I locked up the henhouse, I immediately go out, praying all the way that they're safe.
    I was responsible for one of my hens being killed by my dog. I didn't do a regular inspection of the dog's tie-out line. The plastic coating on the wire cable had cracked, allowing the metal to rust. She got free and took a hen. I was fortunate that she was old and wasn't able to get them all. It was my fault. They depend on me to keep them safe and I failed.
    The rest of my chickens will benefit from the hard lesson I learned. I won't knowingly let down my guard.
    Thank you for sharing your tragedy and for warning us. We need reminders.

    VTGIRL In the Brooder

    Aug 26, 2009
    Quote:I too have OCD about the doors to the coop and run being shut and often get up in the middle of the night with my trusty flashlight to check myself. I think I open and close each one at least three times everynight just to be sure they are shut.

    So sorry for your losses, thanks for sharing.
  7. CheerfulHeart2

    CheerfulHeart2 Creative Problem Solver

    Apr 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    So sorry. Thank you for sharing. It is a good reminder for us all. Again, so sorry.

  8. Scoop

    Scoop Songster

    Jan 16, 2009
    Central PA
    Well, now I know what I'll be doing tomorrow. Fixing a small hole and beefing up security. Thanks for your post. I'm glad when I can learn something like this from others. [​IMG]
  9. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    I'm really sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your experience so that we may learn something.
  10. lngrid

    lngrid Songster

    [​IMG]I teared up for you, Chickybaby, because loss is bad, but loss, regrets and self-blame are the worst! And we ALL have regrets and self-blame. You are *so smart* to try to turn it into something constructive by sharing it for everyone to have a chance to learn from, including lazy noobs like me. [​IMG]

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