|Image source: taken by Michael Barritt and Karen May|
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.