Saturday, 13 December 2008

Tragedy at chez Us-in-France

Tuesday evening I had clients to do and left home at 4.30pm. The chooks put themselves to bed at 5.30 and then we lock them in for the night. OH came home at 7, about 15 mins before me and neither of us mentioned the chooks, both thinking that the other had seen to them. We got on with our evening, cooking, lighting fires etc.

Wednesday morning big black chicken was by the kitchen door, and I thought that they couldn't have been shut away. I went down to the coup only to find that my beautiful Skippy was dead, pretty big grey chicken was dead and all the little chickens had vanished. Sage and Onion the 2 oldest bantams were alive and on the top of the highest nesting boxes, but reluctant to fly down. The only other one we found alive was the little black cockerel who had managed to get through the hedge and was pacing up and down outside the front gate.

We were so devasted. All our chooks have very distinct personalities, and it has been wonderful to see them grow and look after the new little ones when they were introduced. My new little chick Amber had really mingled well, but still often sat in my hand to eat grain from the other hand.

Amazingly black chicken has still produced a couple of eggs since then. The market in St Junien is on next Saturday, so we will go and look for more.

I can't believe this has happened. Last January we lost some chooks to 2 dogs who got in the garden, January before Tabitha my cat went missing and has never returned. When I think of all the times when we never used to shut the coup door, then just one night and this happens. At least they had really happy lives, they were totally free to wander the garden during the day and had a good variety of food.


dND said...

Oh Debra, I'm so sorry for you, but these things do happen. I've read on a blog about using a 'hot-wired' pad on the door of the chicken coop so the chickens can get in and out but a predator will get an electric shock. I'll hunt back through and see if I can find the link.

All I can say is the mantra I'm quoting at myself at the moment. If you have livestock you must expect deadstock. I had my PR alpaca die last night, he was born here and I'm still in shock. Lots of time being spent on looking at other vaccination regimes etc.

Good luck on finding some more chickens.
Deborah x

Frankofile said...

As you say, at least you gave some chickens a happy life. What happened to them is no worse than happens to terrifyingly large numbers of people - sorry, suffering from Too Much News at the moment.

softinthehead said...

So sorry Debra to hear your news. Very upsetting for you. It is lovely to hear from you though - next time in happier circumstances perhaps?

Debra in France said...

Deborah, I am so sorry to hear about your alpaca, what a terrible thing to happen. It is devastating to lose an animal, and we think of our chickens as pets as we only keep them for eggs, not to eat. Do you know why he died? Bon courage,Debra x

Hi Frankophile and SITH, Our chickens had a wonderful life here, and we can that we can lose them at any time, but it is still upsetting. Thank you for your thoughts. Debra x

dND said...

Hi Debra, link as promised

Current thought on alpaca is blue tongue - I've been trying to get the vaccine for weeks but there isn't enough to go round - and we need both variants here - and the commercial dairy, beef, sheep herds are the top priority. They will be doing more tests at the beginning of next week.

Debra in France said...

Deborah, thank you. It is really kind of you to take the time to find it, especially when you have so much on your mind. Fingers crossed you can get enough vaccine for all your alpacas. Debra x

Maggie May said...

Oh...... that is awful. They were obviously pets.
Was it a fox, do you think?

Debra in France said...

Hi Maggie-May, I am sure it was a fox, grey chicken had her head and neck bitten off. It must have been an instant dead as there were no grey feathers floating around everywhere. Black chicken is still laying eggs thoughs, there was one in her next 40 mins ago when I went to let her out.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Oh I'm really sad for you, what a horrible thing to happen. Yes they did have a free and very happy life and that is some comfort for you I hope. You're a kind hearted old sausage you so now you can give a new home to some lovely other chooks just waiting to be taken home. Good luck.

Mean Mom said...

Oh, how sad. I thought that I'd just pop in to see whether you'd blogged and I was shocked by your dreadful news. It must be very depressing for you. I hope that you can find a way of ensuring that this sort of thing can never happen again.