Ordeal #1: You may remember that we bought six chicks just before Easter. We set them up in what we thought was The Hilton- a movable rabbit tractor tucked in the corner of the wood shed. They had a heat lamp, water, food, straw, and a cardboard box to hunker down in if it got drafty.
So we moved the remaining two chicks (now pullets) into the larger chicken tractor outside thinking that they would be able to roost up off the ground, out of the reach of pesky, little predator hands. Then two more died- one's neck looked like it had been chewed on. Lovely. So the chickies were not roosting out of reach.
One chick remained.
Friends of ours let us borrow a mini-fortress- a small wooden cage covered in metal screen. So, we set the fortress inside the chicken tractor and put the remaining, sole chick (now a pullet really) in the fortress each night, letting her out into the larger tractor each morning. At the time of this writing, she remains alive.
the fortress inside the tractor
It makes me sick. Our chickens aren't pets to us (sometimes they are to our kids) but I still feel responsible. You shouldn't have animals if you're not going to care for them properly. I didn't like what was happening one bit.
Well. The other morning, Sadie went outside first thing to let the chick out of the fortress and into the chicken tractor. She came back in and said, "Mom! Before I let the chick out I saw a huge rat inside the chicken tractor running around and then it went out through the side." Bugger!
We never thought rat. They certainly would be after the feed and could get through the wire but not only have we not seen rats around here in years but we didn't know they would kill pullet-sized chickens. About five years ago, Jamey saw a rat in the chicken feed bin in the hen house so he killed it and then hung a feeder from the ceiling to avoid the whole feeder-bin situation. No more rats were seen.
our lone (and very loved) pullet
We had heard that a nearby neighbor was having some trouble with rats but knew they were attempting to fix the problem. We wonder if some didn't migrate over to our place. A poison trap has been placed and our lone chick seems safe in her fortress but four chicks are gone thanks to the rats.
Ordeal #2: Meet my nemesis.
While Americaunas lay beautiful blue-green eggs, they are the most problematic breed of chicken for us. We only have two but these chickens are flyers and are always the ones getting into the garden and up and out of the yard no matter how often we clip their wings. This one in particular likes to scratch up my flower beds, poop all over our walk and patio, and just started EATING MY UNRIPE BLUEBERRIES.
That was the straw that almost broke the chicken's back.
She was immediately quarantined in the unused rabbit hutch. Am I secretly hoping she'll have a run-in with a rat?
This girl is has a record a mile long. Pin It