Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quolls

Image source: taken by Michael Barritt and Karen May
It's been a stressful night and morning. On the way back up our road yesterday evening we saw two beautiful little quolls, one the pale spotted variety and the other dark. One was eating a dead pademelon lying on the road. David got out of the car and dragged the carcass into the bush, as what often happens is that the animal eating the roadkill then ends up roadkill themselves.

When we got home, a little later than anticipated, it was dark and unfortunately a quoll had visited us too. I hopped out of the car at the bottom of our driveway to go and lock up the chooks. In the shed, it looked like the birds had exploded, hundreds of feathers everywhere. And no hens or Russell the rooster to be seen... then I spotted one apparently unharmed hen crouched in terror on the windowsill of the shed. Outside, I found more feathers everywhere and another hen crouched under a water tank. She was clearly in a bad way... rushed up to the house to get David's help to catch and kill her. At the risk of horrifying readers, she had been half eaten alive. One hen and the rooster were missing. And all my own fault for letting them outside to free range and not getting home before dark to lock them up. I felt so sad for the sole remaining hen. She is my favourite, one of the chicks we bred last year who likes to chase and follow me.

Then on opening the blinds this morning, David spotted a hen in the front paddock. We managed to herd her towards the shed, then catch her and check her over before putting her in the shed. She has lost some feathers but clearly has injuries worse than I can see, as she is making a gurgling noise when she breathes. We found poor Russell cowering near the back door. He has a leg injury and a gash and bruising on his back. Both are currently resting in the dark and quiet of the shed. I am not sure if they'll survive. A sad day in chook land. It's sometimes hard to believe that such a cute little animal can wreak such havoc.

6 comments:

  1. Oh how horrible! I have had this happen to our chooks also and I know how distressing it is!

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    1. Thanks Anne. My neighbour has lost her whole flock to quolls twice, so I'm lucky really that even one hen escaped injury. Sad.

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  2. Off topic here! I always read and enjoy your blog but every time I 've tried to comment I haven't been able to! Yesterday I realised that it's necessary to click Preview before Publish in order for it to work! I'll be commenting all the time now! LOL!

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    1. I didn't know that either - thanks for the tip!

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  3. Hi Susan. Sue Mitchell told me about your quoll disaster today ,l am still reeling from mine where l lost my beautiful little duck and four days later a huge tall goose. She obviously too had injuries l couldn't see. Did Russell survive? l am staggered a quoll could bring down a full sized goose so beware everyone out there. .They are tenacious beyond belief. l had to hit the quoll over the head with my torch (at 2am) before it would even let go of her. Beautiful little critters but deadly. l am spending New Years Day building a better chook pen and Boxing Day was spent on the ducks one. Lovely blog

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    1. Oh that's sad about your duck :-( Russell did survive, but now I am wishing I had 'dispatched' him at the time. He has an injury to his shoulder/back that will never be right again, and he has started viciously pecking one of the hens... think he'll have to go. We have a nice secure chook house and pen, but I have not been game to let them out free range since the quoll visit. I am amazed to hear about the goose. I guess Russell's advantage was that he can fight!

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