40 chickens found dead by owner
When he went out to walk his dog about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Bobby Greene came out behind his house on Sunset Street in Lenoir and reeled at the sight of dozens of dead chickens -- all 40 of his egg-laying chickens that had been in two enclosures.
Most of the carcasses were still inside the enclosures, but a few were strewn around his yard.
"I don't know what happened," Greene, 77, said. "I didn't hear a thing."
The pens are enclosed with chicken wire. Greene fed his chickens around 6 p.m. Monday evening. When he examined the pens after his grisly discovery, they appeared largely undamaged, except for a couple of areas along the ground where it looked like a small animal had broken through the chicken wire.
Greene began keeping chickens last year when Lenoir altered its ordinances to allow it. Since then, he has been collecting two dozen or so eggs each day and selling them to friends and neighbors.
Greene found what appeared to be bite marks on the chickens' bodies, and their legs looked like "they had been skinned up," as if the chickens were trying to free themselves from the clutches of their attacker.
Seth Nagy, the director of Caldwell County Extension Center office in Lenoir, said dogs seemed a likely culprit, but didn't rule out the long-tailed weasel.
"If they weren't actually consumed, that would be my first guess," Nagy said. "Several dogs certainly, based on the number of chickens. However, weasels can be a problem, sometimes they will kill for fun."
Greene said several neighborhood dogs run loose in the area.
Greene said he's not likely to replenish his flock.
"I live on a fixed income, and it costs me $34 every two weeks to feed them. I'll probably keep one or two for myself, but I'm not going to fool with chickens anymore for the most part.
"It just broke my heart to see them die."