Tuesday, July 16, 2013

5 Chickens

Sadly, we lost five chickens the other night to an animal predator. I first noticed something wrong with a section of the fencing dangling loose at the bottom. Then I found a dead, headless chicken (one of the suspected roosters) near the feeder. After a careful headcount, I found that we had lost four more chickens. The white chicken was among them.

We searched around the area hoping that the chickens had simply gotten out. Then found and followed a trail of feathers into the woods. Son dealt with the dead chicken for me.

I felt badly because it was mostly my fault. For one, I hadn't been locking them inside the coop at night. They seemed happy doing their own thing, either sitting around the edge, on the roof, or inside the coop. At a friend's suggestion, I had tried locking them inside the coop for a couple of days, but they still wanted to sleep outside. Plus, they are almost impossible to catch. I reassured myself that they were safe inside the electronet fencing.

Secondly, I wasn't being very careful when I came and went inside the fencing. The ground was very dry at the time and the posts were very hard to push in. So I began to untie the end post and just step through the gap. I'm not sure I was always careful about tying it up when I left. It hadn't been a problem up until then, so I became too casual about it.

Here are a few lessons I've learned the hard way.

Lock up the chickens in the coop after dark. About half want to be inside and the other half are very easy to catch once they have gone to sleep. Actually, they are really dopey when they fall asleep. It takes about ten minutes of my time, about a half hour after dark. They sleep better. I sleep better.

Make sure there are no gaps in the fencing. Even though electrified, some animals can squeeze through a small gap even though they get zapped a little.

Dry ground reduces the charge. I poured water around the grounding pin and along the bottom of the fencing and around the connections. Wet ground increases the charge. The increase in charge was an audible difference.

Guv'nor took this of me and the chickens a few days before we lost some.

We will miss the white chicken the most.

A small gap under the fence can allow an animal through.

I poured water around the grounding pin.
A trail of feathers led to the woods.

A few feathers here.

A feather there.

A few more feathers.

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