Well, it finally happened to me

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Noble Rooster, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. Noble Rooster

    Noble Rooster Songster

    Apr 28, 2009
    I was letting our girls free-range on Saturday afternoon (broad daylight) when a coyote attacked two of them, about 50 feet away from me but behind a big rock and down a little slope so it wasn't in my line of sight. I heard horrible squawking and sprinted over, just in time to see it re-catch one of the girls, who looked like she had broken away, pick her up and carry her off into the woods. I started throwing things and making loud noises, but it didn't care. I herded the remaining girls back into the coop and went back with my husband to check if we could find the second victim. We searched and we called but there was no response, and we kept finding piles of feathers. At one point we glimpsed the coyote again, also searching for the other chicken it knew must have been around there somewhere. We finally decided to call off the search because if she was there and didn't want to be found, we weren't going to find her. I am devastated and feel like such an awful chicken mom; I mean, I was right there with them but clearly wasn't vigilant enough, and the coyote must have known that I was there but decided the lunch opportunity was too good to pass up!

    My husband took me out for dinner to distract me and try to cheer me up. While we were out I kept thinking that maybe there was hope for that second missing girl and perhaps at nighttime she would return to the coop, the way I've read in so many stories on here. By the time we got home, it was pretty dark. I was walking around the car after putting it in the garage, when I happened to see some feathers right outside the garage door. They definitely had not been there earlier. We started searching near the house, and then checked the barn. There were more feathers and fresh poo near the stall where the coop is. We went into the barn and there in the corner of the chickens' stall was our missing girl!!! [​IMG] She was clearly exhausted and terrified and it must have been a feat of instinct and adrenaline that helped her survive that afternoon, with the coyote actively looking for her and who knows however many other predators out there, and get back home. We lifted her up and saw a pretty big bite wound on her back that amazingly wasn't bleeding, but was deep and ugly. We brought her in, cleaned it out, and gave her food and water. She scarfed down both, which made me happy to see. At that point she didn't look like she was in too much pain, though by the next morning she was definitely hurting. We also found 3 more wounds, one under her wing, one on her side and one on her rear, but none are as bad as the one on her back. We've been cleaning and putting antibiotic ointment on the wounds and feeding her scrambled egg, yogurt, and a mash of her layer pellets, all of which get munched greedily. She's taking our treatment like a champ, and I think barring any internal injuries she is going to do her absolute best to recover. Caring for her is alleviating the pain of losing the other girl, though I still feel like it's my fault that she's all torn up in the first place. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    One piece of dark humor about the whole situation: the restaurant my husband took me to is my favorite Mexican restaurant, and on the weekends they have 2 guitarists who go around to the tables and sing for folks. They were just starting their shift soon after we sat down, and the first song they played was: The Chicken Dance!!! Complete with lyrics about la gallinita, little whistling sounds to imitate chicks peeping, etc. My husband asked if I was going to cry, but I just started laughing. I mean, how could you not??? Given that we found the other girl when we got home I've decided to interpret that as a sign from the universe that our own little gallinita was making her way back to us, against all odds. [​IMG]

  2. Catstar68

    Catstar68 Songster

    Sep 7, 2009
    Franklinton, NC
    [​IMG] I'm so glad your story had a happy ending!
    I'd start hunting coyotes!
  3. cindy99

    cindy99 Songster

    Jul 7, 2010
    Tioga County PA
    So glad you found your little girl! [​IMG] Sounds like she is getting spoiled - that should help the boo-boo's heal much faster. [​IMG]
  4. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    I am SO glad she found her way home and the prognosis looks good. Get those 'yotes, OK? Nasty, nasty things.
  5. Red&Yellow

    Red&Yellow Songster

    Sep 30, 2009
    Frederick County, MD
    Oh, I'm so glad you found her. She should heal just fine, mine sure did.
    Even though we have coyotes round here (and a bobcat or two), my girl got caught by a neighbors dog. And I wasn't even letting them free-range! She had gotten out late in the day, and I figured she'd want back in soon, so I didn't catch her - then my mom yells that the dog (who we'd seen a few times) grab something brown. I ran after him as fast I could, screaming expletives, till he finally put her down to try and get a better grip - but I got there first. The dog was darnnned lucky I didn't catch up with him, cuz I had my knife on me. She healed just fine after two months in a rabbit hutch, and when she started to lay again, I knew it was time to reintroduce her back into the flock. My sweet rooster, bless his heart, is so gentle with her, and the EEs accepted her right away.

    If my crazy gimpy hen can make, so can yours. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    (Oh, and the dog, after getting loose a couple more times, was taken to the shelter, even though his owner was down the street - an old lady who had no way/energy/time to excerise the German Shep/Husky pup.)
  6. Noble Rooster

    Noble Rooster Songster

    Apr 28, 2009
    Thanks, guys. [​IMG] I can't believe what a brave, strong little bird she is.

    Here she is having a nice therapeutic sunbath on our porch.


    As for the 'yotes, I'm torn. My first impulse is to shoot the thing, but at the same time I recognize and respect their role in the ecosystem around here (we are overrun with deer) and it was just doing what comes naturally. If I want to raise small tasty birds, it's my duty to protect them (which is why I feel so horrible that this happened). It is rather frightening that it was on the hunt in the early afternoon with humans nearby. The thing was huge, too. [​IMG]

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