She took me completely by surprise. I was horrified to find my three little chicks dead, one of which was beheaded. I had moved them to a big pen where they had their own space and they seemed so happy. Having been raised in the living room they were so friendly and sweet.
I first thought it was rats. I spent the day cleaning the coop and destroyed a nest with one day old baby rats. My mistake had been to make a thick straw bed on the floor of the coop. My thinking was that it would be good against the cold. But the rats could then go under and raise their babies in complete safety.
Then the next day it was the turn of three of our bigger hens. Same again: three dead and one of them beheaded. I could not speak for two days. It wasn’t rats, it was our pine marten.
We had Gloria and the two guineas left. A sad, sad day. The guineas are now calling for their mates.
Let’s not bother with chicken said Geoff. No, I am not giving up with them yet. They have brought us so much joy and fun. I must find a way to protect them better.
I completely cleaned up that coop as well, destroyed another rats’ nests, bought some fine chicken wire and worked tirelessly for 4 days, reinforcing where ever a pine marten could get through. My hands were bleeding and so was my heart.
Are you going to put a trap for the pine marten asked our neighbours? No, it is up to me to take better care of my girls.
Our three cockerels in the shed near the house seem safe for now. I went around filling every nook and cranny with stones and hammer.
On the fifth day I looked on line and found someone selling young hens in town. We got three little brown ones and they are now settling in. They are not terribly good looking but I think it’s because they were living in such crowded conditions and had to fight. I am sure it wont take long for them to look great. I so wish for them a long and peaceful life, but will it be?
I don’t sleep well anymore. I have nightmares. I find myself going down the coops a few times a day and if all are quiet as I walk down, I think the worst straight away.
Should we get a dog?