Friday, May 15, 2009
CCSI (Chicken Coop Scene Investigation)
A serial killer is on the loose at Feed Me Farms. Our thirteen chicks had been moved to their chicken condo a little over a week ago when they outgrew their brooder. They were getting used to having the run of the garden during the day and were already trained to roost in their coop at sunset. I had actually begun an evening ritual of sitting outside their shelter and was mesmerized by their antics. I had also gotten in the habit of doing a head count before closing up the coop.
The serial killer struck in the dead of night and left plenty of DNA (of our poor chickens that is). My cowboy found them in their enclosed coop in the morning. Four of my poor feathered friends went down although not without a fight. We think the deceased were three roosters and one hen. My favorite black & white rooster with the giant mohawk was apparently the first to go, there was nothing left but his feet. In fact the chicks that had the most white feathers were all killed.
There is an old wives tale that white chickens get preyed upon more than colored chickens, I now believe it may be true. It might have something to do with their visibility at night.
The origin of chickens can be traced to Red Jungle Fowl from Southeast Asia where their domestication began thousands of years ago. Today, there is an estimated twenty four billion chickens or so in the world. That means there are roughly four chickens to every person on earth! Wrap your wing around that for a minute...
We have narrowed our culprits down to three possibilities: raccoon, feral cat or possum.
Chicken stories are like bad pregnancy stories....almost everyone has one and they love to tell you the gory details. One of our distant neighbors likes to tell the story of his chicken coop which he affectionately named "chicken death camp". Another friend relayed the story of beheaded chickens in her parents coop three days in a row. My cowboy told me when we got them, "Chickens are always looking for a way to die".
I want to think my chickens will be different. We have now added multiple boards to to the coop and are now wiring the door shut at night. We have set a live catch & release trap every night since (the killer seems to have caught on, as he has avoided the trap even though it is set with nice stinky canned cat food.)
My cowboy's mom found out that one of my cowboy's cousins had just hatched a gaggle of Guinea fowl three days ago and ordered 12 of them for us.
Maybe we will have better luck with these twelve than we did with the original thirteen. HHmmmm in Blackjack, we would have beat the dealer with a perfect twenty one!
In honor of my fallen feathery friends, I am posting my favorite Southeast Asian chicken recipe.