The end of October came the predator. A nasty looking Opossum, on the hunt for fresh meat.
I thought perhaps the brooder was secure enough against pretty much all the predators in our area, except for perhaps a racoon.
But it was the possum that created the problem. Just as my daughter was arriving home, she heard toe commotion in the chicken yard.
She investigated and got there just in time to see the possum escape from the fence and into the woods.
A little later, we again saw the creature but was unable to help it meet its demise. Another day perhaps.
The possum killed half the Buff Orpingtons, a cockerel and both hens. So 3 Buff Orpingtons left, all cockerels. So much for the idea of having some broody hens in the future.
Guess we will try again in the Spring next time the farm supply has chicks in stock.
Also killed was one of the Ameracauna chicks, and another Ameracauna was injured. So far, surviving, and seems to be getting better.
The rest were quite shaken and nervous. Since they were about 8 weeks old, we put them in the hen house with the first batch of hens. Neither group was very happy about the situation.
One of the Barred Rock hens in particular, top bird in the pecking order, took great delight in letting the little ones know the possum wasn’t the only one interested in seeing to their demise. But with a little time, that should settle out. Its been about three weeks since the incident, things are much calmer, the little ones are getting quite a bit bigger, but still, they are not
particularly interested in getting along very well. About the only one that is getting harassed to any extent however, is the Ameracauna chick that was injured. That chick is pretty good at getting away, even hopping along on one good leg, and favoring the other with the injury. The others in the little one’s group make a bit of an attempt to protect the injured one, but are still so afraid of the older hens, well – its every chicken for itself.