Monday, 1 September 2014

Perfect killing machines or just selfish bastards?

About 3 weeks ago my free range egg source was cut off at the knees - two of our three brown ladies dispatched by an unknown predator. Call me an unfeeling, cold bastard, but after the official mourning period of at least 2 minutes, where thoughts of "oh, shit, the poor buggers - I hope they didn't suffer" filled my mind, anger inevitably set in. I turned my head to the sky (don't know why) and shouted "you selfish bastards, they were my chooks and I was going to eat them!" 

the sole survivor - delicious-looking, no?
In all seriousness, it was pretty sad. Chooks aren't the most intelligent animals, but they all have their own personalities and the sight of them running at dinner time never failed to make me laugh. There were placid and friendly and it was, in all likelihood, an unpleasant death.

I initially thought the executioner might have been one of the hundreds of hawks that circle overhead during the day - sick of the odd rat or lizard - choosing instead 2 of my lovely, plump breasted chooks. But the more I thought about it, and with some input from my fauna expert father-in-law, the more it came obvious that it was probably a selfish arsehole stray cat.

The birds had chunks taken from their backs, but were otherwise left whole. A hawk, as my FIL told me, would have turned them over and gone straight for the nutrient-rich internal organs. An animal that hunts for food would not have wasted such a precious resource. No, this was a cat, who probably thought it was highly amusing and also good sport to chase them around the yard, frighten them to death and then take a bite, lose interest, and bugger off. 

All very fascinating, I'm sure. My point is - that it annoyed the shit out of me to realise our girls were killed for sport. That the meat and another 600 potential eggs were wasted only added insult to injury. 


Anyway, re-stocking the flock, we ended up with another 4 young girls, who are understandably petrified of the one remaining old bitch who flies into a psychotic rage every time the wire is removed from between them. 

The picture above is her giving the death-stare to the new intruders on her turf. Two weeks of living side by side and the blind rage has not subsided.

Keep that psycho bitch away from me
no idea what breed this is and don't really care as long as she lays eggs.
egg making potential in white
The old bird is not only psychotic but, it seems, also racist. The new white girl copping the majority of the abuse. I have no clue as to what race she is, possibly some half breed silkie, but I feel her pain. It's so hard being white.  

Another 6-8 weeks and my breakfast will be restored to its former glory. In the interim, a few cat traps might be in order.


  1. please accept my condolences! :-( those were YOUR chickens, for YOU to eat, not for some damned bored thrill-seeking housepet....

    1. Exactly, Tess, and thanks.

      Of course the human owners would be to blame if there were any - but I don't think there are.

  2. I like to read your blog-posts - they make me smile even when something sad happens like your rooster loosing members of his harem. I guess one psychopathic bitch hen could be harder to deal with that three who could form a psychosis-sharing circle.
    My city recently allowed to keep chicken, but not roosters , and I am thinking about getting a couple of hens. However, city's regulations require to keep birds locked all the time, which is not what I want to do.
    What do you think about inexperienced individuals jumping into hens-keeping activities?

    1. Thanks, Galina. I think everyone should jump into hens-keeping activities - it would most likely lead to a calmer, less violent world (no funding for that research, unfortunately). If all our kids were watching chooks scratch and peck instead of the IQ-depleting images on an lcd screen, they might have more practice at thinking for themselves.

      We used to let our girls run all over the yard, but soon got sick of the shit everywhere. Luckily for us, our property is big enough that we could fence off a corner of it and they still have enough room to exercise and find insects.

      Have a good one.

  3. Sorry to learn about your loss but I am also smiling about the new brood settling in.

    You can't beat fresh newly laid eggs for breakfast.

    All the best Jan

    1. "You can't beat fresh newly laid eggs for breakfast." You sure can't.


  4. I started to look at pictures with chickens on internet searching for more information about coops and breeds.

    1. Hope you find what you're looking for, Galina. I'm sure it'll be worth the effort. I made our coop out of our kids' old A-frame swing set. See here -

      As long as it has a roof and protects them from predators, they should be fine.