The other morning I went out to fill the bird feeders and noticed some tracks in the snow on our patio that lead under the back deck. I have a feeling these probably belong to whatever has been snacking on my chickens. The first Araucana met her demise under that deck. The chickens like to hide under there from time to time but unfortunately they are a captive audience when they do since there is only one way in and out. The deck is closed in with lattice.
Luckily, the hens were penned up so no self-serve chicken snacks that day at least.
I'm pretty sure it was a dog. I thought maybe a bobcat for a minute but after a quick online search I decided it was nothing that glamorous.
For now the hens are still in jail. I did let them out for several hours Sat. and Sunday but panicked when I couldn't find one of the Buff Orpingtons at dark. All the others followed me to the hen house and marched right in to roost for the night except for the Rhode Island Red who kept hanging back and calling and calling. I thought "GREAT, there goes another one", but finally the RIR went into the house and I closed up the door. I went all around the house looking for that last Buff but couldn't find her. As I was about to go inside, here she came from the back side of the house where I had just been and she was all indignant and clucking like a wild woman. I scooped her up and delivered her to the coop with the others.
Disaster averted...for now.
I ordered a dozen Cornish Crosses to be picked up at Estes Hatchery in Springfield on April 2. I'll only have to raise them for 8 weeks and they we can butcher them and put them into the freezer. I think our neighbors are going to go in half on a homemade chicken plucker. I ordered the book "Anyone Can Build a Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker " by Herrick Kimball and expect it any day now. I hope to talk Bryon into helping (or making) me a portable pen this weekend :)
Life is good.