CLUCK, CLUCK, CLUCK!!!
UGH! That is right. He's back. Mr. Weasel has struck again, and again, and again, and again. Four chickies have been killed before we were about to spot the perpetrator in the act. In lieu of the holidays, I haven't said anything about the dead hens. Plus, I wasn't sure what was going on...until Christmas day, of all days.
We discovered the first dead chicken underneath the nest box. Dan found her one morning. After moving the nest box, he saw that rats had chewed a hole through the wall of The Fortress. That made sense that Mr. Weasel could squeeze through a rat hole. Dan immediately patched the hole and it seemed like the problem was solved.
The second corpse was found one morning in the kennel area. It was pressed up against the kennel door, like whatever got her tried to drag her through. I was upset at the loss, however, the motto around here is if you're not smart enough to go into the coop at night and get safely locked in, then we don't feel very sorry for you. I wasn't that surprised she didn't make it through the night.
Number three was beginning to confuse me. Now that it's winter it's getting darker much sooner (DUH!). This particular night I had locked all the chickens in around 6:00 p.m. Sometimes they are still mingling around the kennel at this time and we lock them in later when I put the horses back out for the night. I was walking back out to put Jimmy and Charlie out when I saw Gracie the Cat eating something by the gate of the steer lot. Upon closer examination, I saw she was eating at a chicken! Was Gracie getting our chickens?! For a couple of minutes I wanted her dead, and she would have been a dead cat, but I stopped Dan since I didn't want to be there when he popped her. (Gracie is still alive, but she's been warned.) Plus I didn't think cats attacked adult chickens. Like the kennel case, this body was dragged to the fence of the steer lot and was pressed up against it. I thought, What in the world attacked that bird in a course of a couple of hours? Like I said, sometimes it's 8 or 9:00 p.m. before the chickens are safely locked in at night.
Our fourth girl was discovered IN the nest box!! Dan was collecting eggs one night and opened the lid and there she was...along with some smashed eggs. Whatever had gotten her went into the coop during the day and had attacked. By now I was thinking we were dealing with something different than a weasel. I assumed weasels' only attacked at night. Was it a fox?
So on Christmas day before Dan let the chickens out, he blocked off their window to access to the steer lot. I was a little leery of this since something could still squeeze it's way in...the chickens just couldn't get out. Later in the afternoon I was putting away laundry upstairs when I decided to look out the bathroom window. I saw the chickens in the coop flying up and acting very distressed. Dan and I rushed outside, hearing their squawks and screams...yes, it sounded like a scream. I didn't like actually hearing my birds scream from pain/terror. The some chaos ensued. I was ordered to stay far back, as Dan had already grabbed one of the two firearms we keep in the barn. For a split second I saw something that looked like a ferret. Dan shot, but Mr. Weasel had already squeezed through a loose board in the wall. After that we herded the chickens in the coop and locked them in. No one was seriously injured on the Christmas day attack. Thankfully.
Later on Dan went back out to the barn and moved some wood boards around hoping to scare Mr. Weasel out and bring us some justice. Bless his heart, he even sat up in the loft over the kennel and channeled his inner sniper hoping Mr. Weasel would show his cowardly face. He didn't.
Since Christmas, the chickens have been locked in the coop and will continue to be until we do something about this. We did set our weasel trap (thanks Probst!) and we baited it this afternoon with the gizzards of the chicken we had for lunch. (I bought it at Kroger's! It wasn't one of ours.) Plus, Weasel Lure is on it's way.
I will keep everyone updated. This year will be our year. I can feel it. Justice will be served!
...cluck... cluck... cluck...