We’ve raised chickens for eggs for 13 years now and have seen more than our fair share of death in the coop. Sometimes they go quietly and quickly and sometimes you can look at a bird and know they will be gone in three days based on their symptoms. It’s just how nature works.
Last night we got a call from a friend, who was watching our chickens while we attended a family reunion, because he suspected some fowl play had happened to our two free range yard birds. Normally, these birds ,Elvis and Freckle, ran up to humans in the hope of getting fed so when they did not come racing across the yard he knew that was a red flag. When he saw a few white feathers on the ground along the back side of the chicken shed he decided it was time to call me.
Sure enough, after returning a little bit ago, I tracked a trail of trodden tall grass to a set of pine along our property line only to find the remains of both of them. The only thing to do now is make sure whatever decided to take these two doesn’t decided to take the rest of the birds or, worse yet, they three cats we have living with us that have full access to the outside.
For the record, Elvis was a rare commodity. He was a rooster that never developed any alpha tendencies and always maintained a healthy fear of me. He won a 1st place blue ribbon at the 2012 Benton County Fair. Freckle, on the other hand, was a wily feral hatched bird that lived free from beginning to end, never having actual physical contact with humans. They were a twosome flock that stayed together through several seasons and they went down together. That’s where their story ends.