|McGee (Front Left) and Daphne (Back Right)|
Ryan’s Garden is minus one helper.
I was greeted with a heart stopping sight this morning when approaching the allotment. As I parked the car I noticed that the chicken coop roof was half open. In a blink of an eye I had that sick feeling, you know; that feeling you get when something you have invested time, love and energy into is, in a single blow, dashed, tarnished and broken beyond repair.
I navigated the gate and entered the plot with the reassuring sound of chickens in the distance, which saw my panic reduce slightly. Other plot holders were going about their business unaware that all was not right. A few even greeted me in my hasty approach; I grunted a rushed hello in return. I rushed to the coop like some bumbling idiot where my worst fear was confirmed. There were only two chickens to be seen and Daphne was missing.
After carefully researching, planning and building what appeared to be a entirely secured coop and run I had come undone. I had accounted for predators, pests and hygiene and I didn’t think for a second that in such a sheltered spot the wind would be able to raise the heavy roof. Whatever happened, whether it was human or nature itself, something had lifted the hinged coop roof open allowing just enough room for my Speckledy hen to make good her escape. There were signs that she had been scratching and hanging around the coop this morning and to make things worse the egg she had laid was still warm. I managed to find a few feathers nearby that may indicate she was taken by a predator (probably an hour or so before I arrived) and on my return to the plot at dusk there were no signs that she was coming home to roost.
I guess I’ll mark this one down to experience for now and look at finding my two remaining girls a couple of new friends come the Spring. I guess you cannot be too vigilant when caring for hens?