Moved Pigs and 4 Dead Chicks

Tom prepared the larger pig pen and moved the pigs in there yesterday.  I forgot to bring my camera so did not photograph the event.  But here are the photos from this morning.

Below are Penelope (with the ear tag) and Porky side by side.  You can see the size difference.  Porky likes to eat pig food, and Penelope prefer grazing on greens.

Porky eating and Penelope drinking water.

Porky eating, and Penelope grazing.

I moved the cows into the field surrounding the pig’s pen.  You can appreciate that the pigs are still on the small side.

So when I went to check on the pigs I found these feathers by the gate to the field they are in.

My best guess is it had been one of these chicks, a Columbian Wyandotte.

Columbian Wyandottes

As I did more chores I found a red wing.  It looked like it was from one of our Rhode Island red chicks.

And I found a cluster of similar red feathers in the pen in the barn that the chicks have been in.

I also found other gorier chick parts in the pen.  I counted the chicks (I guess I should be calling them cockerels now), and we only have 22 when we should have 26.  I looked around and couldn’t find any hiding.  So it appears 4 of the chicks have been killed.  

The Wyandotte’s death is consistent with an eagle, but the RIR is worrisome for a land animal since most of its parts were in the barn and behind a door.  So I had to figure out what to do to protect them.  I herded all of the chicks into the pen (which was tricky) and shut the door to the outside.  I believe it was just the younger and smaller chicks that were killed (I am going to have to check my old photographs to identify for sure who else is missing.).  So I left the larger “chicks” in this pen and moved the smaller ones into their first pen which is completely predator proof.  So here are the 11 larger ones.

And here are the 11 smaller ones.

I feel bad locking them all inside as they seemed to enjoy pecking at the grass and exploring the pasture, but I need to keep them safe.  I am hoping my plan will work.  Let me know if you agree that I am likely also dealing with a four legged predator and not just raptors.

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6 Responses to Moved Pigs and 4 Dead Chicks

  1. Jeanne says:

    I’m afraid I have no clue! It really is a sad story. You don’t want to lose any chicks. I hope you won’t lose anymore.

  2. FullyFleeced says:

    so sorry to hear about the chicks. it’s awful coming upon a scene like that. parts left behind does suggest land predator to me. could it be a weasel again?

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Denise. I would have thought a weasel would be more destructive and take more of the bodies. But definitely could be. I haven’t been out yet this morning to see if my plan worked.

  3. eliz martin says:

    Ouch Donna, yesterday Bruce and i saw our 2nd weasel ( dead) this spring, and only ones since we moved here 17? years ago…had a chick your size taken 4am 3 days ago that was roosting with its mother in a bush…others through the years has been rats with chicks your size ( rare),,,raccoon ( climbed over 2 6′ chain link fences to get 17 freezer camp boys), cooper hawk cornered a hen twice its size, and coyote losses….I have a chain link pen with about 25 youngsters with 2 fiesty bantam hens, so far all ok. have a game cam out to see if something returns where chick was taken recently……

    • Donna says:

      I am sorry. I hope the game camera works or better nothing more is taken. We have had a variety of chick predators as well including mink, weasel, raccoon and the eagles. Still not sure what is going on this time.

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