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Coyotes ring in the New Year with a feast of Herbfarm hens

  • Written by Deborah Stone
herbfarm
Pictured is the Herbfarm Restaurant in Woodinville where the New Year massacre took place. Photo by Deborah Stone.
Local coyotes were in for a treat when they came upon over 100 hens at The Herbfarm Restaurant in Woodinville on New Year’s Eve.

Yes, the birds were behind a solar-powered electric fence, but that didn’t stop the hungry creatures from clawing their way through the barrier and slaughtering all but a dozen or so of the hens.

When the restaurant’s farmer gardener arrived on New Year’s Day, he found one of the birds sitting forlornly on the fence just looking at him.

The area was full of feathers with the remaining few hens running around in a panic.

“Obviously, the solar power wasn’t powerful enough,” comments Herbfarm owner Carrie Van Dyck.

Fortunately, the other animals, some pigs and ducks, were untouched.

“The ducks were inside a greenhouse,” explains Van Dyck, “and the pigs are much bigger than the coyotes so they left them alone.”

The restaurant began with six hens awhile back and the local eggs produced were of such superior quality that management decided to expand the number of birds to 150.

“We decided that was the number that would provide us with all the eggs we needed at the height of the season,” says Van Dyck. “And these eggs were so much better. The yolks were practically orange and the whites were really white. There was a richness to their flavor.”

She notes that by raising the hens at The Herbfarm, there would be complete control over what the birds ate … and they were fed scraps from the restaurant.

Although The Herbfarm has had some minor issues in the past with outside animals coming on site, it has never experienced a massacre of this size.

“This was a big loss to us,” comments Van Dyck. “But, it isn’t going to deter us. We’ve fixed the fence and we’ve installed automatic closing doors on the coop. And the hens will be put inside at night.”

She adds, “We’re planning to get more hens. Just don’t tell the coyotes this!”

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