Tuesday, December 22, 2009

RIP Penny

I came home from work this afternoon and the chickens were fussing. I went out and went right to the coop and checked their food, and it was ok, so I put a bit more in. Two of the young hens were standing in the coop in the poo pile, which was odd. I walked around to the other side and tossed some scratch out and called them, and that's when I saw the pile of feathers out in the orchard. I knew who it was even before I did a head count. Penny was the slowest hen in the group, with her dump-de-dump waddling hop when she ran. I'm sure she didn't have a chance. I must have scared off whatever did it, because they just chewed up her head, and she was still warm. Poor Penny, my favorite chicken!

When we got the chickens I promised they would not get emergency vet visits, and we would try not to get too attached to them. I was a little attached to this one.

Edit: I think I know who did it. I was outside and heard the wild birds making a fuss, and went over to see what was going on, and there was a giant red-tail hawk in the sequoia tree next to the paddock. I got close enough to scare him away, and he flew to the trees in the backyard. He was definitely staying close. I put the rest of the chickens away for the night (it's almost dark anyway). I prefer knowing it was a hawk and not a coyote who might move on to eating the dogs and cats!


Anonymous said...

oh, that makes me sad.... Bye bye Penny... I'll miss your stories...

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Poor Penny. I'm sorry she had to lose her little fluffy life. :(

This is why I don't let me chickens out to free roam ever, unless I am outside with them. We are on a raptor flyway in the mountains here, and we get all sorts of predatory birds flying through.
My wish was to have free-range chickens before we moved here, but that's ust not possible, unless I'm willing to lose a few chickens every month...of which I am not.

I have yet to lose any of my chickens to predators yet, thank goodness. And I know my chickens are happy in their extra large coop and occasional free-range forays when I'm out there to protect them.

Besides the money they cost to raise and feed, I can't afford the losses. And like you, I'd be devastated to see my chicken friends killed.

I'm so sorry. She was a very pretty girl, too.


StefRobrts said...

Normally the chickens have the orchard area to range in, and it's pretty safe, because of all the trees and bushes in there, I don't think a hawk could even see them from above, and it's nice and shady in the summer. That's worked pretty well for the last year, the only chicken I've lost was one of those wandering chickens who was out in the pasture - literally a sitting duck! But now with all the leaves down, there's no place to hide in the orchard.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Maybe they can be coop chickens during the winter then? And then back out to free-range in the Spring and Summer?

Darn raptors need to hunt for rabbits and wild birds and leave our chickens alone. bah!


dotoner said...

I am so sad this happened. Chin up!