There was a ruckus in the chook pen the other day. The Captain was making all manner of new and alarming noises and the sense of urgency made me dash straight up to see what all the commotion was about. Remy, who has grown quite fond of the chooks, was already up at the pen, clearly distressed by what he must have witnessed. But I was too late. The intruder was still in the pen and there were brown feather strewn all over the floor. A cunning Goshawk had somehow managed to find its way into the fully enclosed pen and couldn't get out.
I did a quick head count and the five Silver Spangled Hamburgs were all being sheltered in the corner by the Captain and two white frightened Silkies were found huddled in a nesting box. We had lost our two brown Silkies. So sad. I grabbed my iPhone out of my pocket and took a quick photo for identification purposes before going in to get the attacker out without losing my eye. I did a quick repair job on any holes in the pen before going inside and making a cup of tea to recover form the ordeal.
We have never lost Chooks before. Predators aren't a huge problem here and we have always been able to have the Chooks free-ranging. We lost the odd Chook in New South Wales due to foxes, but their existence in Tasmania is still subject to much debate. I feel a tad guilty that I hadn't let our Chooks free-range yet as maybe they would have been able to seek cover in the bushes. Maybe it would have been worse. Who knows? We hadn't actually named the four Silkies as we were waiting to find out their gender. I have now quickly named the two white Silkies "Lucky" and "Hope" in line with naming the birds after place names from our recent travels.
There has been no sign of the Goshawk since so I'm confident it's moved on so I can still start free-ranging them in another week or so. If anyone has any experience with Goshawks, I'd love to hear!
On a happier note, we went to the Poultry Show on the weekend to pick up a couple more Chooks to add to the menagerie. It was great seeing so many different types of breeds available. I was tempted to get some Frizzles but instead we left with a pair of the most divine Indian Runner Ducks which also bought us an afternoon of fencing to house them separately from the Chooks. These are the sweetest things I have ever seen. They are tall and slender and act like penguins. When we took them out of their box they kept tripping over things and falling on their bellies like cartoon characters.
Welcome "Cecil" and "Rose".