Chickens, a Mink & a very sad end…. and a new beginning

We went to a poultry/bird auction 2 weekends ago to buy three or four new hens to fill up my DH’s coop addition. 

 

While I was looking around for the specific hens that he wanted – he was falling in chicken-love with a little Mille Fleur Rooster.  So we came back from the auction with ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ the rooster.

Rapunzel & Samantha the Mille Fleur hens and ‘Zowie Bowie’ a ginger Silkie looking exactly like David Bowie in the Labyrinth time period.

They are gorgeous chickens!  I can’t believe that I just wrote that sentence.  Oh well… they ARE gorgeous!

We spent a couple of days introducing them to our older ladies Squawkers & Brownie. As the new guys spent the day in the coop, the older ladies were out free ranging as they often did. Brownie was missing that evening as we were shutting up the coop. There was no sign of her anywhere. We were scared that a hawk got her – or a roaming dog (we are in the middle of several farms). But we have never lost a hen before. There was absolutely no sign of her. The next day Squawkers went missing & my DH spotted 2 little eyes flashing under the woodshed. It was a mink. Our poor lovely ladies had been killed by a mink. ): We immediately set the trap to catch it – over a week ago. There was no sign at all of the mink. The rest of the hens & their Roo have been on lockdown in the coop since the loss of the 1st two. We picked up 3 new additions on Sunday – Brahmas. DH hoping that the mink would be caught by then… they are currently living in our garage in a dog crate. We take turns putting the crate out by the coop & sitting beside it to chaperone the fights between all of the new hens & to keep everyone safe from possible mink attacks. The cat isn’t allowed outside at all – so every time you go anywhere near the door she tries to frog leap over you to freedom.

It has been driving us all crazy. We have been so sad about the horrible loss of our original ladies & unable to really get to know the new bunch. Plus – I know that it sounds strange, but it is a horrible thing to know that a killer animal is living on your property and virtually holding your animal family hostage. It is strange going out & dragging the dog away from the trees or the firewood pile in case it leaps out to take a chunk of his nose. You think about it all of the time. I couldn’t find the heart to even write about it. Finally this afternoon before I got home from work hubby found the mink in the trap.

It is like a huge weight is gone. Tomorrow we can let the new flock out for the day & the cat is allowed out. I don’t have to follow the dog around the backyard (but I will anyway – because he is apt to eat things that make him sick – like grass, dirt, leaves…) DH & the kids won’t come home & check all of the property looking for the mink. I guess this is the crappy part about raising a backyard flock. Now we are going to try to enjoy getting to know our new family members – although we won’t ever feel quite safe letting everyone out in the morning & we will always miss our first chicken ladies, Squawkers,  Brownie & Cocoa (who passed from a heart attack a couple of months ago). I think it will take a while until there is any free ranging in our yard.

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