With winter here I’d started the process of down sizing my chicken flock.
I gave 6 to the neighbor who’ll keep them even after they stop laying. She also has two donkeys that don’t do much other than wander the neighborhood and eat her hay. No sadness there.
I gave 12 to a friend who raw feeds his dog with them. They’ll live very nice lives until they’re butchered. A twinge of sadness here.
Then last night we got home and were locking up when I noticed a few tufts of feathers in the snow along with dog tracks. With a closer eye, I saw more tufts and knew that I had to look into the big coop and do a count. Only one hen sitting in the rafters, so bundled her up and put her into the small breeder coop while I started to follow the dog prints around- hoping to find some more of the chickens up in the trees. Very sad, I try not to have my critters suffer- even when I raise them to die one day.
Of course I found more feathers, the dark Barred ones from the Maran hen who’d already survived so much and still gave lovely dark brown eggs, but no whole birds. Dog tracks, snow, blood spots and feather tufts.
Headed back towards the house I did spot one of the little black hens hiding, she lead me to see that the two amerquana rooster brothers had made it. But that’s it- 3 roosters and just 6 hens left. Two of the roosters will have to go or the hens will end up naked.