I’ve lost so many birds to predators lately! I lost one to probably a hawk way back a long time ago and then I never lost another bird until my plymouth died of something a couple of months ago. I think then is when the problem started. I was puzzled as to how to get rid of her carcas and one of the suggestions I got was to just put her body out on the pasture and someone would come get it. That seemed the most logical to me, so that’s what I did.
Well, that may have been a mistake. It seems possible that some predator has now discovered the buffet on my pasture. After the plymouth died, that left me with four birds. Three reds and one plymouth. So I went out and got three more reds. They were doing fine and were even laying. They never got to the point where they would go up into the actual roosting area of my Omlet Eglu Coop. They stayed down in the run on a bar that I had installed.
Sometime after that, I traveled to Africa for a couple of weeks and had horrible jetlag when I got back. Of course it was late Spring so it was staying light later. One night I fell asleep without having gone out to close up the run. During that night, something got into the open run and ate all three of the newer red birds. I came out to the pasture the next morning to find three areas of feathers. One for each bird. At that point I had HAD it. Omlet had talked about an automatic door coming out for my coop last summer and it never happened, so I went on the search again.
This time I found that they were selling the automatic door in the UK. I didn’t care. I ordered it right away and paid the international shipping. Over Memorial Day weekend we worked to install it into the side of the run and it is GLORIOUS. It opens in the morning and closes at night.
Also over Memorial Day weekend I got three new birds. An Easter Egger, a Light Brahma and a Buff Orpington. They were pretty young and small so I kept them separated for two weeks. Then for a while I let them coop up in a separate structure but they free ranged together during the day.
Finally I put away the other structure and made them all live together in the Omlet coop. So the flock was getting used to the automatic door as well as new flock members all at the same time. One by one the young ones got picked off by various predators. The Easter Egger I think was a land based predator. The other two I think were airborne.
So I’ve gone through 6 chickens lost to predators. Then I’ve had several trips stacked up one after another so I’ve just left it those four for a while. I do think I’m going to go get more this weekend before. Probably just plain old red chickens. They are survivors. They have the smarts to coop up at night and to get away from preditors. I really wanted my flock to have some variety, but I can’t just keep buying birds that quickly.
That’s pretty much what’s going on with my flock right now. What’s up with you and yours?