Community garden founders devastated after loss of chickens

By Charlene Tebbutt
December 31, 2018 - 5:48pm

The couple behind a popular community garden near Prince Albert are devastated after losing a number of young chickens over the weekend.  

Bonny and Mel Sanderson lost 40 chickens in two separate attacks at their farm east of Prince Albert. The couple has been operating Jessy’s Garden as a community space for nearly 10 years, and added chickens a few years ago.  

The Sandersons guess a mink got into the chicken coop on their property, killing 17 birds in the first attack Saturday night and another 23 Sunday night. Bonny Sanderson said they worked to fill the coop with fresh straw and plug any holes, but the animal was still able to get inside a second time.

Sanderson said the birds were young, having just come to the farm last spring. One of the dead birds, Tiny, was a favourite amongst young kids and families who visited the gardens over the summer, she said.

“We love to raise the chickens,” Sanderson added. “It’s a big part of the gardens, having the chickens now … we’ve never had something like this happen, that a predator got in.”

The community garden has continued to grow over the years. The Sandersons started Jessy’s Garden in memory of Bonny’s daughter, Jessy, who took her own life in 2008.

The couple works with local community groups and schools to help feed others in the community. Sales from the farm eggs not only help feed the chickens but cover the cost of food for the five dogs the couple has on the property.  

Since the attacks, the Sandersons have received an offer of more hens from a neighbour, but Sanderson said they want to wait until they can trap the wild animal threatening their birds before bringing more home. They may enlist the help of a professional trapper if they aren’t able to catch the animal soon, she added.

“Until we can catch this creature, I don’t want to risk any more,” Sanderson said.

 

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On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt

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