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Backyard chickens and city wildlife

Sadly enough, we have no more chickens roaming the backyard. What happened?

As many other neighbors, we kept a small amount of chickens both for company and fresh eggs. Salem allows up to 7 feathered backyard dwellers if they are allotted sufficient space to roam and no roosters are included in the party. That makes sense, those roosters can and will be loud. Not appropriate for city living.

Our three hand-raised happy hens called the backyard home. Their routine included walking and pecking and some more walking. And then a sprint back to the coop to lay an egg or feast on fresh kitchen scraps. All was good in the backyard …until the spring of 2022.

On an ominous (that’s how I remember it) morning a neighbor knocked on our door with sad tidings. She found a half-eaten chicken in her yard. And yes, one of our hens had fallen prey to an unknown assailant. So we mourned and set out to reinforce their enclosure.

Everything went well until six months later when, after darkness set in, a loud ruckus in the backyard made our ears stand up. Lo-and-behold, the presumably original assailant had returned and found their way into the enclosure once more: a raccoon. The unwelcome bandit fled into the night, but damage was done. One of our two remaining hens received a deep bite and passed away shortly after.

Left with one hen and a lot less confidence in our building skills, we started looking for a new home. Chickens thrive in flocks; they are not solitary animals. Luckily, shortly after, ‘Dot’ found her way to a new home with three new sisters and a safer enclosure.

Bye Dot. Enjoy your new pecking grounds.

Wildlife in the neighborhood

Turkeys, raccoons, possums, and so many different kinds of birds – and the occasional (lost) pet – call our neighborhood home.

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