Yesterday a black bear got into our chicken coop. I was at work, and Ashlee came home from dropping Elias off at school to see the black bear in the chicken run with a chicken in its mouth. She grabbed River and drove down to her mom’s house to call her brother-in-law. He came over, grabbed a gun, and went up the hill to our property and shot the bear.

In that fifteen minute span, the black bear (who was pretty small) got inside the coop through the chicken door. The carnage was indescribable. Truly awful. The bear killed or maimed 22 of my chickens. Only five survived: two meat chickens and three of the laying hens. The meat birds were only days away from being butchered, so I spent yesterday afternoon putting well over 100 lbs of chicken meat into the garbage can — a waste of hundreds of pounds of chicken feed, and months of work.

Needless to say, I’m disheartened. It’s the second troublesome bear we’ve had hanging around this year. Between our steep lot, our bear problems, and the short growing season of living in Alaska, there’s a whole extra layer of difficulty added to the passions I’m trying to pursue, and it’s hard not to get frustrated…

Worse, Elias called me while I was coming home from hunting last night, crying and telling me how much he misses his chickens. His heartbreak was, in many ways, the worst part of the whole ordeal.

When I got home last night, I petting the three remaining laying hens as I closed the coop for the night. We’ll be fixing the fence this weekend, making the chicken coop entrance¬†significantly¬†smaller so that bears cannot get in, and looking for a few replacement layers.

And I echo Elias’ words: “I really miss my chickens.”

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