At lock up time last night, it was pouring rain. The hens had been penned up earlier when I took kitchen scraps over to them, so I left them to their own devices overnight. That was a major error. Though the pen is fenced with an heavy erosion fence cover, a raccoon got in the coop. I didn’t even realize it until just a few minutes ago when I went to check for eggs. as I had seen hens in the yard today and didn’t even dawn on me that they had been penned up last night. Two followed me with the treat pail over to the run, one was in the vegetable garden and joined the other two. Several were frantic under the coop, but I figured they just wanted treats or to be let out as the strong wind today had blown the gate shut, though now that I think about it, I had rolled the rock that holds the gate shut against it when I penned them up late yesterday afternoon. That only accounted for 7 of them. When I opened the coop door, there were feathers everywhere and one dead hen, the victim that I could find. One is missing, probably frightened off into the woods or thickets, but so far she hasn’t returned.
The Marans that was in the garden went straight into the coop to lay an egg as soon as I did a little clean up. I hope the one that is AWOL reappears or my flock is down to 7. Nine was barely providing enough eggs for daughter’s family and my use.
They haven’t been providing that many eggs for the number of hens, aging out, I guess. but I had really hoped to get through this laying season before having to replace any.
I feel bad as it is totally my fault that they weren’t secured in the coop last night. Not wanting to go out in the storm cost me at least one hen and several eggs. It was easy to be complacent as the coop has food and water in it and with the rain, there is a tub of water outside in the run as well. Lesson learned. Regardless how nasty it is outside, the coop needs to be secured at night.