Monday, November 05, 2007


We didn't hear a thing during the night. The dogs didn't bark. The geese didn't honk. But this was what I saw when I stepped outside Sunday morning:

Total and complete catastrophe. The PVC turkey pen was smashed--the pipes weren't disconnected, they were splintered. Something even pushed its body straight through the chicken wire. And somehow, something popped the door latch on the wooden pen and got into it, too.

At first it didn't sink in, because it was too terrible to contemplate. Four turkeys missing, presumed dragged away and eaten. A tom dead in the pen. Four birds mauled so badly--wings broken, lungs full of fluid, tails torn off, chest muscles exposed--that they had to be put down. Two hens traumatized but mobile, one staggering like a drunkard and one with flaps of skin open on her back.

And, miraculously, one tom with a bloodied face, standing in the middle of the yard. He warbled quietly and took cautious steps toward me. I went to get some scratch grain and led him into the fallow section of the garden.

We don't know if it was stray dogs or coyotes. There are both in the neighborhood. We're furious, made even more furious by the fact that we have no one specific to be angry at. We called animal control, as if that'll do any good. (They've ignored us before, and they'll probably ignore us again.)

I went to L2's to borrow some extra electric fence wire, and I ended up sobbing on her shoulder. She cried too. She was our poultry watcher when we were on vacation, and she had taken a special shine to our turkeys.

Turkeys are so sweet and guileless and friendly, and we are supposed to be protecting them from things like this. But we had tractored turkeys for two years with no incidents--not even any threats. This came out of nowhere, and we can hardly believe how complete the devastation is.

Now everyone is behind a double perimeter of electric fencing. We still can't sleep, but at least it will help deter a second visit.

The tom has been named Lucky and will be a pet. We feel that somehow it would be wrong to eat him for Thanksgiving dinner after all he's been through. He seems to understand that we are the good guys, and he comes to the fence and calls for us when we are near the garden.

Everyone please cross your fingers for the two hens--terramycin may help, but then again, it may not.