Counting Your Chickens

  • Posted by: karl
A hawk's eye view of the broilers
A hawk's eye view of the broilers

Saturday morning as I was bringing the goats down from the barn, there was a great commotion in the chicken yard. I was on the far side of the barn, so I couldn’t see what it was and thought it was just the layers fighting for position as they were coming down the ramp. Once I got the goats penned, I noticed a group of 8-10 broilers were on the outside of their electric pen. I glanced over at the tractor and saw two more hiding under the tarp and one or two pacing nervously near the fence. I realized that the commotion I heard was something going after the broilers. I extracted 3 more who were cowering under a large pile of kindling and did a quick head count. There were only 17, and there should have been 25 plus a yellow one with fuzzy feet that was the free “exotic” that came with the order and one black Australorp hatchling that had been living with the broilers, both of whom were also missing. Something had gotten into the broilers and made off with a bunch of our chickens.

I had seen a hawk fly over head the morning before, but there was no way a hawk could have made off with that many, and it seemed unlikely that a fox or raccoon or something like that would have come in daylight, or made off with so many in so short of time — and while there were some feathers strewn about, there was no real sign of blood or struggle.

Margaret had come down from the house to investigate and help re-tally the head count. Charlotte came too and had been calling out that she had found the chickens, but we had just figured she was talking about the layers at the top of the hill. But she kept insisting, and so we gave up on our detective work and went to investigate. Sure enough, over in the high grass by the maple were 7 broilers, the yellow fuzzy chicken and the Australorp. Charlotte had found the chickens and saved the day. A final count left the flock at 24, so we guessed it probably was that hawk, and it made off with one of the broilers… it had its work cut out for it flying with one of these guys, as they’re already getting pretty fat. Clairvoyant Charlotte named the missing chicken “Lucky,” and mostly pretended to be upset saying he was her favorite. Later that day we came home to find “Lucky” wandering around the outside of the pen, trying to get back to the flock from his hiding spot, wherever that had been. Lucky indeed.

Author: karl