|Duct tape and rag ripped away!|
A few days later, another dead hen, an older Isa Brown. Again, she looked pecked but largely intact. I put the roosters for sale on eBrandon, our local online community. Yesterday morning, another, but this time the head and neck were missing. Chickens wouldn't do that: they wouldn't or couldn't eat a skull....We've got more of a problem then we thought! We carefully checked the coop - the only way a predator could get in would be through the chicken's door, which has a little gap or through the front door. We'd removed the lock of the door, to allow a bit more air flow, and were using a tie-down as a little extra security. When it's well below freezing here and the chickens are confined to the coop, they release a lot of moisture and heat. It can get very humid and stuffy in the coop, so we'd removed the lock to allow the hot air to escape a bit better, even though we'd built in air exchange. On examining the door, there was blood around this little hole, which I don't think I transferred there in my comings-and-goings. Was it possible that a critter was getting onto the door handle or tie-down and through that hole? Farmer Man figured a weasel was perhaps at work.
So yesterday, we fixed everything as best we could. We stuffed the hole in the door with a rag, well held in place by duct tape on both sides (the farmer's fix-all!). This morning: the outside duct tape ripped off, the rag pulled out and the duct tape inside pushed aside! And another dead chicken, one of the young roosters born here in August. Unbelievable to me that a little critter, like a weasel, could get up on the door handle and in-and-out through that small hole! And drag a chicken head with it! So today, something is getting bolted over that hole. I'm just sorry I didn't realize how much of a problem we had sooner, but it will be fixed today! We're just worried the critter will get hungry and attack them during the day, when they are out in the pasture, so we'll also be looking for some kind of trap today. Hopefully, our little flock will be safe again!