Monday, August 31, 2009

Hen Pecked

A predator of some sort got to our hens two nights ago, killing one of them and leaving her beheaded body on the bottom of the pen.

Corrine found the hen and the evidence of the break-in: the top of the screen door was shorn away, and there were claw marks on the ground where the infiltrator tried to gain access by burrowing under.

Our hens are not in a top-level security facility here. It's an 8-foot-by-8-foot square pen made of strapping and chicken wire. It's placed on the dirt ground up against the back of our barn.

I popped out a window in the barn and built a wooden box that acts as a sort of passageway between the barn - where they sleep at night - and the pen.

Two weeks ago a neighbor complained of hen shit on his apartment building porch, so we stopped letting them range. We're nothing if not polite and conscientious neighbors.

But the fact that an animal of some sort tore into their home and assaulted one of the hens is a bit unnerving. What's worse is that the dead hen's sisters thought nothing about surrounding her body and pecking the hell out of it. Gross.

I know of only raccoons capable of scaling an 8-foot door, tearing open the screen and ripping the head off a hen. Skunks won't do it. Foxes won't.

So of the 17 original hens, we're down to 15. One having been killed by a stray dog. And now this one.

I'm actually at a loss as to what to do. There is no way to protect them, really, unless I seal off there sleeping quarters and manually let them outside during the day. That's a hassle. Ever try to round up a bunch of scared-shitless hens?

On another note, we bred our border collie with a female a few months ago and the result was a litter of 12 puppies. The owner of the bitch sold all but four, and then called Corrine last week asking her if we could puppy-sit while she tries to find a new place to live.

So we've had four tireless pups bouncing around the house, pissing and shitting everywhere. Corrine penned them on our deck, which now looks like the bottom of a kennel.

The back hallway is where they sleep at night, and that too is rank with the effluvium of dog urine and excrement, not to mention the little fuckers are chewing the hell out of anything.

Right about now, I hate dogs and hens.

And neighbors.

But I love you. So relax.


  1. OOOooooo! Effluvium! Nice big word usage! Bonus points!

    Tough call on the hens. And raccoons get all violent like that? Really? I'd be more inclined to fathom a fox doing that sort of thing.

    But as long as you still love us... that's all that matters.

  2. It wasn't me! I like my chickens a little more well done.

    Raccoons are crafty little buggers.

    If you lived where I do I would say it's the coyotes. At night I can hear them howling and barking when they are chasing their food. Creepy.

    I'm sorry for your loss :(

  3. dont have a guess for you on the hen beheader... puppies lol have fun! and thank goodness you still love us!

  4. Chickens are really nasty. They are also cannibals and will eat their own. They have been known to kill a weaker or sick chicken and eat it. Gross.
    It sounds like a raccoon did get into your hen pen tho. I used to love raccoons until reading the Garden Web boards and found out how nasty they are and that they are killers. I say kill the raccoon. (do not send me hate mail people okay!)
    I recently had to take care of ONE puppy. OMG. GROSS.
    I hope you catch your chicken killer and those puppies leave soon.

  5. Did you take pics for an MM post? Some good should come out of that poor hens death.

    Puppies - lucky they're cute cuz everything else about them sucks donkey balls.