Holy Cow! Not again! For the 5th time in as many years, a bear destroyed our chicken coop, but for the first time, he actually ate two of our chickens. Our coop sits right under our bedroom window, and as these raids usually happen in the middle of the night, we have heard the rending of wood and wire and have been able to scare off the bear before he killed any of our hens. Once a couple of years ago, he actually got his teeth into one and ripped a flap of skin off under her wing, but we treated the wound with antibiotics and she recovered good as new.
Friday, we were not so fortunate. This attack occurred in the middle of the afternoon. I just happened to go downstairs and heard the chickens clucking louder than usual and went to look out the window that looks out onto the coop. I knew immediately when I saw two chickens staring in at me on the other side of the glass that things were amiss. A quick glance to the coop proved that it had been ripped open and knocked over.
A further glance beyond the destroyed coop revealed the culprit, a black bear standing on the outside of the gate. I ran out the front door yelling at him to scat. Disgruntled, he slowly ambled off up the slope and disappeared into the woods. Assessing the damage, I woefully discovered that I only had two of my four precious hens. All that remained of the other two was a small fluff of feathers.
I know that most people don’t credit chickens with a lot of smarts, and I agree that they won’t score high on an IQ test, but they do have more intelligence than most give them credit for. These two survivors somehow knew that we lived on the other side of that glass window, and they were doing their darnedest to get my attention calling “HELP, HELP, HELP” at the top of their little chicken voices.
I looked helplessly at their little home, the damage way beyond my means to repair. So I called DH to see if he could home early to do a coop reno. It would be a couple of hours before he could get home, so to protect the girls in the meantime, I carried them to the garage, and placed them in the dogs’ exercise pen.
Repairs took a little over four hours and took us well into dark. We finished up by flashlight about 10:00 at night and tucked the hens in for the evening. After the first bear attack five years ago, we installed an electric wire around the perimeter of the backyard fence. It apparently does deter the bears from coming in, because in every instance that a bear has climbed the fence, we’ve discovered that the electric fence was down. And sure enough, during a recent electrical storm, the GFI on the outlet had been popped and the fence off. I’m naturally worried that now that he has the taste for chicken, the bear will come back for more. I find that I am checking on the chickens every hour on the hour. So far, so good.
I wonder if our two remaining chickens are lonely and miss their sisters. I guess it’s time to think about getting some new chicks.