In the Brooder
- Jun 5, 2011
I have been fighting rat snakes for a couple of months now. I have carted off 3, and know of one I could not catch. At first, they were after my new chicks, but I fixed their brooder to lock the snakes out. Then they went after my eggs. I caught another and carted him off. Last month, I found my only rooster dead, with not a mark on him. This morning I discovered I was short one hen (Light Brahma, not a small hen), and found her on the ground. Her head was covered in dried blood, sand and feathers, all stuck to her face. She was alive, but not by much. I washed off as much of the dried stuff as I could and was amazed to see how much swelling there was, but NO bites, missing skin or tears. This does not look like the work of an assult by the others. I am wondering if a snake would do that. One snake I saw was VERY large, much larger than the 6' rat snakes I have seen (larger in girth). Did not see the entire body, so cannot say what it was or how long it may have been. It was also much lighter in color than the rat snakes. I am wondering if this might be the results of a large snake trying to eat this bird (such an ego), then when I realized its mistake, it gave up. When I left for work this morning, she was stll alive, but I fully expected her to be dead when I got home. But she is still alive, but not much better. I still cannot tell much about the damage. The waddle on the right side is quite swollen and appears to be seeping. I don't know what else to do except try to get some fluids and calories in her, keep her quiet, and hope for the best.
I realize it is unlikely that a snake would attempt to do this, but it is is really large, I am wondering if it might just try. I may be stalking the hen house tonight. Any ideas? I know she will likely die, but I am not prepared to do it myself, even if it is the humane thing to do. Truthfully, I am not sure about her eyes either, so she could easily be blinded. What a sad little hen she is.