There’s no denying it. I love my chickens. Like, really love them.
I realised that, perhaps I love them too much, this morning, when monte came in to bid me good morning with the news that a quoll must have breached our chook pen and killed two of our pullets (one of the brown ones and the white one pictured above). The white one was a cockerel as far as I can tell, and the other one, a little hen. They’ve left behind a brother and sister and our babies are down to six.
There’s not a brilliant survival rate when it comes to chicks. Often only 50% will hatch and possibly only 75% of those make it to adulthood.
I’ve been keeping the chook shed dark to encourage some of my girls to go broody and I’m grateful that Caramel (pictured – named because of the colours of her feathers) is sitting on six eggs. I don’t want her sitting on more than that; she’s a first time mum, but I am tempted to shove another 4 under her (too late now; she has been sitting 4 days now)!
Our chook pen consists of a shed that is connected to a fully enclosed pen. It has not been breached in the five years we’ve had it! We can access the pen through the wire enclosure and the shed, and there’s a little entrance between the two for the birds. We’ll be blocking that entrance at night now, so quolls that are small enough to get through the wire can’t enter the shed, where the birds will sleep at night. They can all still freerange during the day.
I feel ripped off by that little quoll. They’re endangered, so I should be glad they’re living around here (we’ve had more quoll sightings around here since Naigee died. But we are down one chicken dinner and a few year’s supply of eggs. And a couple of pets.