Sunday, June 12, 2011

Goodbye Gertie

We lost Gertie yesterday. She was killed in the orchard, horribly, sometime yesterday morning. She leaves behind Alice, her inseparable twin, and Hector, the sweet little runt who grew up and became her protector.

We're not sure what got her. It was during the day, so it probably wasn't a raccoon. More likely it was an eagle or even a raven, but the kinds of injuries she had don't quite fit. We have been lucky so far with predators, but this week has been rough: first we lost an 8-week old pullet who disappeared without a trace from the chicken yard (probably nabbed from overhead, despite all the reflective tape and fishing line streamers criss-crossing overhead), and then yesterday, Gertie.

Poor Gertie. And poor Hector, and poor Alice, who were with her when it happened.

This is Gertie and Alice when they first arrived at Mucky Boots. They were so beautiful: soft and fluffy and so black, even their feet. They went everywhere together, and talked to each other in their special chicken language.

Gertie as a young pullet in the vegetable garden. She was a good forager, and laid beautiful creamy rose-brown eggs.

Gertie with Alice and Hector.

Goodbye Gertie.


~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Oh Miriam, I'm so sorry! I know how much you and Kim adore your chickens, and I hope you're able to figure out who the predator is to keep the other chickens safe.

Natalie said...

I just came in from visiting my chooks. Puff came in the house with me and sat on my lap, and I was delighting in her, her talking, her curious expressions. They can be so dear. Ravens and hawks have become too accustomed to stalking my birds... I need to make improvements to their home. Poor Gertie. And yes, poor Alice and Hector... everyone who knew her and enjoyed her sweetness must be feeling this loss. I am sorry. My heart aches too, because I know how sad it is to part with the ones we love. (((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

Oh no! I'm so sad for you all. Poor Alice!

Paula said...

Oh Miriam! I am so sorry to hear of Gertie's demise! But two in one week! This has to be driving you guys crazy.

Don't be too sure it's not a raccoon, because I've seen them in my yard as early as three o'clock in the afternoon. Most roam under the cover of darkness, but the ones with little fear don't worry about a little sunshine. However, from what I've read about raccoons, it wouldn't have stopped with Gertie. It would have kept going 'til there weren't anymore.

I'm thinking that it was probably the same predator, and your farm is now its commissary. I hope you guys figure out how to thwart whatever it is.

By the way, I've figured out what the problem is with that one pullet, whom I've decided to call Lucy. I feel really bad, because I didn't see it, and it seemed to occur later rather than right after I brought her home. She has both a crooked toe, and splayed legs, and at four weeks, I don't think there's anything I can do for her. I can't help but feel that if I'd had more experience with chickens, I'd have seen it sooner and been able to do something. I just feel awful. And I can't figure out how it happened, because I was really careful about what I put the chicks on so the wouldn't get splayed legs. Maybe it's just the learning curve I get to experience.

Again, I'm really very sorry to read about Gertie. I know you guys love your chickens and do everything you can for them, so this has to be really awful for you. Can you stretch chicken wire across the top? I hope you come up with the best solution soon and don't lose anymore of your feathered friends.

Doc said...

So sad to hear the news. God bless Gertie.

Rae said...

So sorry Miriam. That's awful! :(

Negerigeletschtempoit said...

So sorry, Miriam. Really. You and Kim must be hurting and I hate to hear that!

Now, I am not a person who would kill an animal just for the sake of killing it, but, in order to defend my "babies" I would sit somewhere with a gun and wait... As long as it was necessary.

"Kim, you are on your own", I would say. "I am waiting to catch the son of a bitch that is killing our chickies". Maybe Kim would grab another gun and sit with you.

The predators learn that the place is a source of food and do come back!

I had to get up one night, a long time ago, and go save my chickens from a Racoon that was having a feast in the pen.

Again, I am so sorry.
Love ya!

Joleen said...

Sad day/week for you. I'm sorry.

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