Failure. I am a complete failure as an owner of laying hens.
Two Sunday mornings ago, I went to feed the hens and collect the eggs, only to find that La Petite Rouge was gone. It was as though she had just vanished. I could see no way that any critter could have gotten into the pen and escaped with her in tow.
Maybe someone opened the egg-hatch door and she escaped since there were no signs of struggle.
I just did my best to secure the pen to protect my egg providers in case it was a predator. But yesterday morning when I went to gather the eggs and feed the two remaining girls, there were signs of struggle everywhere.
Feathers once belonging to Goldie, the biggest of the three hens, covered the ground inside the pen and around the outside. I felt sick. I had allowed a predator to somehow invade the chicken coop and steal a second of my prized hens.
I borrowed an animal trap (the humane kind), baited it with shrimp, and set it, hoping to catch a opossum or a huge wild cat.
The first thing I caught was the neighbor’s feral cat. I promptly released him with an admonishment to stay away from my yard if he knew what was good for him.
This morning, I am happy to report that Gray Girl is still alive, hiding in the nesting box, but the shrimp were eaten, the trap door was sprung, and the culprit had escaped. There is only one animal that smart–a raccoon.
Having raised two baby coons in my house alongside our little dog and kittens, it sickens me to be so graphically reminded what vicious predators these creatures can be. Of course, I don’t have proof positive, but opossums and cats are just not dexterous or intelligent enough to figure out how to open a trap door and escape.
The trap will be set again tonight, this time anchored to the ground so it won’t be flipped on its side as it was today. If I catch the coon, I will be releasing it in a nearby marsh.
Meanwhile, I have one gray hen suffering from Post Traumatic Raccoon Attack Syndrome and that lays blue eggs. 25 pounds of cracked corn and 25 pounds of lay pellets. And one used chicken tractor for sale really cheap!
Going to the store for stale eggs,