The sight we were greeted with was one of complete devastation - dead birds and feathers everywhere. At first there didn't appear to be one bird alive of the 50+ we had fed and checked on just a couple of hours earlier. The silience was deafening.
After the grim task of collecting the bodies, we counted 17 dead, another 3 had to be culled they were so badly injured, all the remaining birds were missing.
Remarkably over the following few days all but one of the missing birds gradually emerged from their hiding places. Despite looking rather shell shocked and very nervous they had survived, amongst them a couple of my favourite, old faithfuls.
A week on and they are starting to look more relaxed but the paddock seems very empty.
The task of rebuilding the numbers, (rather than replacing the birds) has already started thanks to the great kindess of a friend, who has set me up with a breeding quartet of Light Sussex. His birds are of amazing quailty, large birds, beautifully marked and excellent layers. Sadly the Light Sussex hens I had hatched from his birds previously were amongst the dead. I now however have a lovely small flock of my own to breed from.