Still In Shock, 11-25-23

I know you’re all wondering if I have found any answers but no, I haven’t. It’s all I can think of and yes, I can sleep with the help of drugs and ice tea.

Was there a ruckus? I’m sure there was but I was in the quilt shop, Telly was gone with Rick, Keeper was in the shop with me and Hazel was in the house. I’ve kept the remaining 8 locked up since. Do I open their door? They want out so badly! And it’s such a nice day.

I go to the barn many times each day and when I open the door I wonder if they’ll all be there and this has been a cruel nightmare.

Thanks so much for your love and support.

39 thoughts on “Still In Shock, 11-25-23

  1. Cyndy F

    Mary, I have started writing several times about your chickens. My heart breaks for you. I am thinking a fox for several reasons. I still think 3’s bite was a fox. It looked the same as one of my cats. The fields are harvested and they have relocated. In broad daylight I have seen foxes crossing fields with their “catches”. Here we have bear, foxes, and raccoons go after chickens. So very sad and sorry. We just lost our tuxedo cat to 2 bull mastiffs that someone’s house sitter let out. We are still so sad about it. He was 12 and was sitting by the door waiting for his lunch. It was why I had a hard time posting about the hens. I can’t let my other part time outside cat out. Just can’t do that. I totally understand.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Cyndy – oh, that’s so horrible!! I can’t imagine how distraught you must be about your tuxedo cat – did the house sitter even listen when instructions were given? Bull mastiffs! Huge dogs! As you have a hard time thinking about my hens, your poor cat waiting for his lunch will haunt me. I had a fox killing chickens over 40 years ago and even though I haven’t seen one lately it’s possible. My heart is pounding just imagining this – are dogs allowed to run free in your area?

  2. Linda in MI

    I would keep the locked up too Mary, I think it was one or more fox and if so they can return for an easy meal. If it were weasels or mink, you would have a horrible kill site, they take the chicken’s head off and suck out the blood from the neck and then leave everything. It is so gruesome and cruel, I can still see what happened to a couple of my girls and that was a few years ago. Find someone who wants a fox trophy and will come hunt them, fox won’t go in a live trap and you can’t poison them because of your animals. Most people think they are nocturnal, I hear them screaming at night but I see them running around during the day and my girls were taken during the day.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda – I had a weasel/mink in the barn years ago and yes, all I found were headless bodies of juvenile chickens.

  3. Kris in WI

    It’s hard to say anything encouraging when there are so many unknowns. I think Kathy in Western NY said it best, we are all wrapping our arms around you. Praying for comfort, of course, but also hoping to discover the culprit. Blessings, Kris

    1. Kathy in western NY

      I’d like to think ,Kris , I gave Mary some comfort from us but today, as I head out to church, I think Mary should go into town , have an ice tea, watch the games and chat among the locals to see if any of them offer solutions or have an idea of what’s around. How’s that for a Sunday best for our dear Mary!

  4. Sharon G.

    Mary – So sorry for your loss. Keep the lost chickens in your heart and watch over the remaining 8.
    Whatever you do, Mary, don’t forget there’s a predator on your property. So, always be careful and mindful of your surroundings and always make a note where your other animals are at all times. Just be safe!

    Your dogs were otherwise occupied at the time so it’s not their fault that they didn’t hear any commotion. Obviously it was an attack by a very experienced and “stealth” predator.

    It might help you working through this tremendous loss by notifying your neighbors of the tragedy especially those who have chickens.

    You’re in my thoughts and I’m sending you a hug.
    I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.

    Take care everyone.

  5. Linda

    This is all such a horror….I feel so awful for you…even worse with no answer to what happened….

  6. Li

    Having some idea of the cause is important in order to evaluate what was missed in providing protection. Is there anyone in the area who might have a few ideas to help identify this unfortunately experienced culprit? It happened so quickly it is hard to accept the scale of this awful damage.

  7. Mareen

    I had a weasel once that took a lot of my chickens but left the body. So sad – you may never know😪

  8. Pat Smith

    If the predator was so quiet not to get your dogs barking, I’m thinking an eagle or hawk. They seem to drop down from the sky so noiselessly and back up. I’ve seen them drop downs to get an animal and the prey didn’t make a sound either. The reader that put chicken wire over the top of the fenced pen was successful. Maybe that’s the answer. Growing up I always was sorry we didn’t live on a farm because I love animals. Now I realize that it would have been in tears all the time.

  9. Kathy Hanson

    I must have missed something?? Soounds scary but I hope you find out what happened – and tell us. I am in the dark – I Hope all will be well!!!!

  10. Beryl BC

    I’m sorry about the chickens. My sister-in-law had chickens with a small outdoor pen attached to the chicken house. They lost chickens twice. The first time they secured the fence at the bottom of the pen. The next time they covered the top of the pen with chicken wire or something similar. They didn’t lose any to predators after that .

  11. Kathy in western NY

    Thanks for telling us you are doing the best you can do under the circumstances. It’s awful not knowing. I would be so reluctant to let them out as there is something definitely stalking the chickens. I think they know now and could be back so give yourself some days to cope before dealing with more but that’s just my opinion wishing we could all wrap our arms around you.

  12. Dianna in Wisconsin

    Mary, I’m so sorry to hear about your chickens. They are beautiful and to have a loss like this is devastating.
    I would have no idea what animal would take them like that.
    Hope you find answers so the other ones can get out and be o.k.
    Hugs to you.

  13. Sharon F

    Mary, I’m so sorry about your chickens. I hope you can figure out what the predator was and how to protect your girls from it.

  14. Rita in Iowa

    Mary I’m sorry this is such a mystery. A couple of years ago a neighbor had a mink get into her coup.
    Ferrets can also do damage. Hope you can get to the bottom of this.

    We had my family gathering last night and had 59 present. I took one of my quilts, Snowball and Nine Patch with matching pillowcases and 2 throw pillow covers. I had anyone who was interested in the quilt to put their name in the sack and I would draw a name. My brother received the quilt and I told his wife they each have a quilt to cover with as I had made my bother a quilt earlier. It was fun to do.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rita – I have drawn for a quilt several times when I hosted family reunions – I had kid quilts and adult quilts. It was fun!

  15. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    So sorry you still have no answers, Mary. I hope you can find out what nasty critter did this.
    On another note. Good luck to Iowa next week vs Michigan. Our Buckeyes didn’t beat them. 🥲

  16. Betty Klosterman

    Holly, your post reminded me of something that was happening several years ago. A rancher who had a pasture near town where he had pure bred cattle grazing so he could keep a watch on them. There were packs of dogs – people’s pets – running in his pasture trying to take down the cattle. He just let people know in plain English, that he would SHOOT FIRST and ASK QUESTIONS later! People kept their ‘pets’ home.
    Betty in Rapid City

    1. Holly in MN

      That was the law in our area, too. If dogs were after your animals, or running deer, you could shoot them. It’s easier said than done. In the moment, yelling and throwing things at them works pretty well to scare them off. I was there once to chase away dogs after our goose and went to carry her to safety inside as she was too tired to stand from being chased. They would have killed her, for sure. But when the worst attacks happened, we weren’t there. I sure let the neighbor have it that day, screaming across the field like a crazy woman, as he was trying to call his dogs back home. His dogs were the ones that did the worst attack and I was paid for the lost birds, but my chickens were pets and you can’t pay for that. Perhaps would let their dogs out for the day “to play” and had no idea what the dogs got up to.

  17. Holly in MN

    I’m so sorry, Mary! I know just how devastating this is. I had it happen twice when we lived in the country and had chickens. Both times it was dogs from neighbors, some close by and some a mile or more away. They came in the day when we were gone, went right through the little door into the coop and killed whatever they could get to. We lost so many chickens and a rabbit also. We had to clean the pen to get rid of the smell, the remaining chickens were so terrified and traumatized. We also had dogs come in the night and kill rabbits–tore into their pens to get them. It’s so heartbreaking, each and every time. I kept a list of names of the chickens we lost in the biggest attack to make a quilt from On Behalf of Chickens to remember them by. Years later the list is still there and the quilt hasn’t been made. Maybe it’s time to start pulling fabric for that project. I wanted to choose fabrics that were like their colors. Like you, mine were all pets. My heart goes out to you. (In the case of dogs, they mostly leave the chickens, so that doesn’t sound like what happened to you. Maybe coyotes? It’s the kind of mystery that can haunt you, that’s for sure.)

  18. Lynn

    Just reading your posts. I am so sorry for your loss. You are such a good mom. I too have no two legged children and my four legged children are my world. I guess chickens have two legs but you know what I mean. I thing the idea of getting a trail cam is good. I have thought about getting one to see who is doing all the damage in my garden.
    Take care. Lynn

  19. Linda

    Mary, I’m so sorry for this nightmare. You don’t deserve it.
    The highlight of my Thanksgiving was when my step-daughter brought in Bruce, her rooster, so i could hold him! I have a deep love for chickens as well!

  20. Sandy

    Hi Mary, so sorry for the loss of your chickens, l think it is animal going in and taking them away to eat or feed an znimal family. Cameras would solve the mystery, so many different wild animals in America, we only have roaming dogs, ferrets or rats as predators in New Zealand (all introduced by settlers).
    Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  21. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Mary, still thinking of the horror of your loss, wondering what could get at them with all your precautions, and I think I concur with those who suggest a bird, or a few nasty birds, migrating maybe? Hawks? They would have left feathers in a tussle but not bodies.
    The cycle of life includes so much sadness, as well as joy, but the sorrow is so breathtaking. Like another reader, closing ads and praying for the safety of the remaining flock.

  22. Diana in Des Moines

    So sorry for your trauma with your chickens. I always admired your chickens when we came to the shop, and you were always so gracious to answer questions.
    I’m afraid I wouldn’t let them out either, unless you were directly supervising them. Maybe a large hawk or eagle carried them off?
    Been a crappy week here, too. My eye is still raw and doesn’t feel like it’s healing. Thus I’m crabby as I can’t see to sew. Arghhh.

  23. Susan in Gilbert AZ

    So sorry! Very sad! You aren’t alone in this experience. My son and daughter-in-law have chickens that are pets. She is an ER vet. They thought their coop was secure. A raccoon broke in & killed some of the chickens. Even the most well-intentioned safety measures failed for them. Please try not to feel guilty, Mary! We do our best & God decides the rest. Prayers!!!

  24. Brenda in Georgia

    I am so sorry. It makes my heart hurt. I became attached to two musgovy(spelling?) ducks who belonged to some neighbor. They flew around and wandered the neighbor hood and became used to me. I bought duck food and soon as they saw me they would come running. They talked to me. They would follow me. I loved them – and one day they disappeared and I never saw them again. They were not even mine and it upset me so much. I can only imagine this pain for you when they were your own. Bless you as you go through this.

  25. Janice Brown

    Mary, This very distressing and sad. Don’t know if someone already suggested this but can you set up a trail cam or two in the barn where the chickens are?

  26. Betty Klosterman

    Maybe you need a shepherd to watch over the flock while they are out? Or a trail camera? Then you would know what hit the flock. If animals could tell you what happened? The mystery continues??

    We got a light cover of snow yesterday afternoon and evening. Just enough to make slippery walks. The sun will melt it. Tonight is the big Parade of Lights. With the wind chill temp is supposed to be in the teens. Get out the underwear and wind breakers. I’ll be home.
    Take care. Betty in Rapid City

  27. Tanya T. in Houston

    Sending love and closing ads as that seems about all I can do for you right now. Mourning those gorgeous little chickens with you…

  28. Joy in NW Iowa

    If Keeper was in the quilt shop with you, I’m surprised he didn’t hear something. Our Aussie heard everything! Several years ago our grandson lost a whole little flock to some animal that sucked the blood out and left them lay in carnage! He went out to check his chickens in the morning (he was about 6) and there they all were. That was so sad and devastating for him. He is such an animal lover like you.
    Living in the farm with animals can br so hard.
    We woke up to a skiff of snow! But at least it was above 20 degrees. Yesterday it was only 13 when e got up! Well, best get my salad ready for our thanksgiving dinner tonight.
    Have a good weekend and Mary I hope you can come to some kind of peace with this.

  29. Kris in Naperville

    I am so sorry this is happening. You are so kind and loving to all your animal friends, I know this is treating you apart. Hopefully you will find the answer and the nightmare will be over… thinking of you…

    1. Kris in Naperville

      Tearing, not treating… this is what happens when I use my phone and not my computer…

  30. Diane In Nebraska

    Such a sad sad mystery. Do you have any dogs in neighboring farms? My brother had trouble once with a farm dog that found a love for chickens. They finally had to remove the dog from the farm away from temptations of chickens.

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