- Posted September 23, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Just a couple of days ago, I was enjoying my two turkeys, Tom and Jerry, and the last of my two chickens, Roid the Rooster, and Spice. But the last couple of days, all four seemed a bit off. Following me everywhere I go, hanging out in the garage or nearby, like something was watching them. It should have been a red flag for me, but I unfortunately ignored the signs, thinking it was nothing.
I had actually given 6 hens away a few weeks back, because every day it seemed like one would end up missing or dead. Too heartbreaking and I kind of figured something was watching and eating them.
Then yesterday came with the most heartbreak of all. I realized I did not hear any cockadoodle-doo as usual from Roid this Sunday morning. So I did my morning routine to feed the chickens and turkeys and was mortified at the sight of the pen. Feathers everywhere! Inside and out, were trails of feathers leading into the woods. You could tell the turkeys put up one hell of a fight. The sight was sickening and it was all my fault. Of all nights, I got so caught up in a movie the night before with the kids, I forgot to close the pen door. But what could have come and taken all four, I thought? My turkeys were huge!
The prints inside the coop looked to be a couple of wild animals. One larger paw print than the other. I immediately thought of a panther, but it would have to be a bunch of panthers to pull off such a massacre. Friends suggested it had to be a pack of coyotes.
So I scoped the whole entire yard, but not the thick of it. I was alone and didn't want to take any chances going into the woods if it were a panther. So I called up my sister Mary. She and her husband John, along with son Spencer, came over immediately to help me clean up the coop before the kids came home. Spencer of course brought his huge pellet rifle, ready to kill!
As a group, we made the effort to follow the trail of feathers as we were saddened quickly by what we saw. Sure enough, both turkey lie there in the thick of the woods, dead. Tom and Jerry both lay there in peace, looking untouched. Then over a bit further was a huge pile of chicken feathers from what I could tell was Spice. Yet with no remains to be seen. Poor Spice.
Then Spencer drifted off a little further into the woods and heard a soft cluck. It was Roid the Rooster! But he was so torn and ripped up, there was almost no chance he would survive. I came around to pick him up and cradled him. He was in total shock with practically all of his feathers plucked, his body engulfed with teeth and claw marks. I brought him in immediately and bathed him. But it didn't look good, barely holding his head up as we gave him syringes of water.
I laid him down in a box with some hay in my closet. Tried to feed him some scratch, but to no avail. He was in deep shock and in pain. I kept him hydrated throughout the night, but he died peacefully in his sleep this morning. It was best.
Shortly after finding the turkeys, I knew it was a good time to bring out the night vision cameras to catch and see what did this. Knowing they would be back for a night feast. I know it sounds awful, but it was something I needed to do.
So this morning I went out there to collect the cameras. I noticed one of the turkeys was no longer there, so I assumed something came. Then I peered off towards the back of the woods, a little farther in, and all I could see was Tom the turkey, laid upright. He was laid out for a full feast, almost eaten in full. So sad. Jerry just laid there, waiting to be the next meal. But I plan to bury them and Roid today.
As I hooked up the cameras and brought up the pictures, I was right, it was a panther! But only one? There had to be a cub nearby, but nowhere to be seen. The tracks clearly showed one big paw and one little.
So if you would like to see the pictures of the panther, I will upload them to Naples Daily or you can view them on my Facebook page found here. Scroll down until you see Panther Kill.
RIP my barnyard animals. I will post a couple of videos for your memory. I thank you for those memories.
Turkey Football starring Tom and Jerry-
Happy Thanksgiving from the Kniolas showing Roid as one bad Rooster-