I had hoped to write all about my first Christmas in Australia (and also my first Christmas married), as well as Boxing Day (which, up to now, has been and still is a complete mystery to me), and all about Christmas pudding, crackers, how it's summer instead of winter and it's just weird to experience, and the FANTASTIC ninjabread house I made for the family gathering.
But, unfortunately, the day after Christmas (Boxing Day) we woke up late, went to let the chickens and ducks out of their shed, and all there was were the rooster and one hen, both of whom were already wandering around outside. Apparently, in all the fatigue of the mountainous Christmas lunch and dinner, we forgot to lock their shed that night. Thinking that the ducks had found another spot to roost, and possibly the hen with them, (normal for our ducks, odd for the chicken), we searched the areas they're known to frequent.
Until I went around the side of the house by the car port and found my dear little drake laying belly up near the brush line, surrounded by some fluff and a few feathers.
The poor little guy had no injuries that we could see, and was stiff as a board. Upon further searching, I found some of the little ducks breast and wing feathers. No body though. Just today, while moving the fire hose, my husband found chicken feathers.
So, one body, three casualties. And our rooster, Eutychus, is nearly horse, most likely from crowing out an alarm. We're guessing it was a dog, since any of the cats that wander around here are terrified of the ducks (yes, odd), and cats are more known here to go for baby chicks and leave full-grown chickens alone. Dogs, however, will just come and "play" with foul, get a taste for it, and kill as many as they can before they're stopped.
The most likely scenario is that, while we were gone Christmas day, someones dog go out and came and killed our poor birds. (We've already lost two chickens from random unknown deaths.) Our little flock is down to two: Little Red, and Eutychus. Why do we figure day? We sleep with the window open and it happened right outside our window. Even with the windows shut you can hear any noise the birds make.
No, we're not sure it was a dog, but we mostly ruled out cats (for reasons listed earlier) and Devils wouldn't be able to chase and kill and drag off three carcasses (though they might just one), and our ducks had gotten quite hefty. Quolls (or Native Cat, though its a marsupial, not even close to a cat) would be the same, and are about the only other native animal that might come after our birds. They generally sneak into coops or get birds that are roosting unprotected, bite the neck, and suck out all their blood. They then fall asleep, wake up much later, and eat most of the bird. They keep their pray where it is, and pretty much just stay there. But the Devils and Quolls are both nocturnal.
My poor ducks. They were getting more and more awesome each day, just learning how to fly, still followed me around outside to their little pond (a child pool) or while I picked raspberries, nibbling my shoes and pant legs. Our chickens sort of lacked personalities, and they're much easier to obtain (my husband's parents have some just hatched and we'll be able to have a few). Plus, ducks are just way cooler. And they were all attached to us, and young, and fun to watch.