I kept telling them not to roost in the apple tree. In fact, most nights I would go out there and physically remove them from the high branches of the tree and put them in the coop. Unfortunately this was not the case the night before last…and now we are two chickens lighter. I’m not sure who got them, but they were def. got by something. There were many tell-tale feathers. It looks like one of the polish chickens was dragged under the bushes outside the run, and the other (Annie Oakley) may have been chased a bit as there were feathers on the top of the fence and then along the ground also leading into the bushes. Our guess is raccoons, so we’ll be locking the girls in at night, at least for a while, as the nearby predators now have a taste for blood. Good news is the other apple-tree-roosting-hen found her own way to the coop. Nothing like seeing your buddy’s dead body dragged under a bush to make you think twice about your sleeping arrangements.
On a positive note, we’re averaging about 6 eggs a day still, even in the shorter days of Fall. We have not put in a light yet, and I’m not sure we will get to it in enough time to really have it make a difference in the girls’ laying this winter. Worst case scenario is we buy a few dozen eggs from the store over the winter months. But I do have to say with my family of 5 it is nice to be able to throw 8-10 eggs in a skillet for breakfast several times a week! We’re also tossing a few chickens into the garden on non-rainey days (they come so often here in Western Washington) now that the harvest is over (we didn’t plant anything to come up in the fall). It works out great; free greens for the girls.