I'm pretty sure a skunk took the 14 turkey eggs from their nest. But they were on the lower property, and we don't monitor that plot for wildlife like we could. But up near the house is the layer flock and the goose, with housing for chickens, chicks, bantams and the like - all within 25 yards of the house, and all secured - or so we thought.
It started two months ago when something ate the wing off our bantam hen. Yeah, the whole wing. I wasn't telling you about this one, because I thought maybe it was too much...but now is the time to come clean.
I went to the bantam house in the morning to open them up, and there was the hen, with a big patch of blood on her side - way too much for the usual pecking or pestering of fellow poultry. Not actually bleeding anymore, but bloody. Upon closer inspection, we realized her wing was bitten off. Gone. We can only figure that she fell asleep in the laying box and her wing dipped down through the 1" ventilation slot on the side, and something got her. They left only one small drop of blood on the wood, and nothing else. At a loss for what to do, I slathered the wound site with Super Salve, and housed her inside the small poultry barn to give her time to heal and be away from the bugs and sun.
This is a picture of her right side, showing the feathers growing back over her stump. She was posing on the top of her coop, and was actually so "recovered" that she struggled to get free and consequently moved her pretty little head right out of the shot.
As you can see, she has recovered. Having one less wing doesn't seem to hinder her, and so I have dubbed her "Lefty". (Madison does not share my dark humor, BTW and still calls her Jelly.)
As soon as she was recuperated, I returned "Lefty" to the bantam compound, and to lessen the cramping in the house, I moved another broody bantam and her five eggs to the indoor cage. Everything was fine for a few days, and then I went to check on Ms. Broody, and all the eggs were gone but one. Gone. Overnight and they just disappeared. No shells, no mess. She was totally over the idea of sitting on the remaining egg unfortunately, and I returned her to the bantam house.
Two weeks ago, I was doing the evening chores and I spotted a baby grey catbird, hopping about after Candy the goose. No parents were anywhere around, and it was too young to fly. I didn't want to leave it to the after dark predators, and it was peeping desperately, so I scooped it up and brought it to the barn. I locked it away in a small poultry cage with some straw and Candy to watch over it, and thought I would figure out the next steps in the morning.
Well, come morning it was gone. Gone. No sign of a struggle, no apparent opening large enough for the thing to escape. Just gone. I told myself that it must have squeezed out and found another small way out of the poultry shed overnight.
Now, two nights ago, I "graduated" two of our largest turkey poults (2 and 1/2 weeks) to a cage on the floor with larger mesh, (but none large enough for escape) and put the lone 6-week-old bantam pullet in with them for company. It was the same set up I had used for the wounded bantam as she was recovering, and for our broody bantam. They seemed to like the arrangements, and did well for 36 hours.
Last night, it struck again.
All three are gone. Gone. No feathers, no bodies, no sign of a struggle. The littlest Narragansett poult and the Bourbon Red poult next to them in the smaller mesh cage were untouched.
I have set the trap in the barn. But I don't expect we'll get an answer...