Needless Suffering Comes Home to Roost

Last year, I recorded the devastation that my neighbours suffered through at the hands of a grizzly bear (see Needless Suffering for the story). This year, it has hit my own yard. Two nights ago a grizzly bear broke into my chicken shed damaging the door, the locks, and the hinges before killing half my chicken flock. This is not some flimsy, clap board, slap together $1000 chicken shed that would be sufficient to meet most chickens’ needs. No. This is a full on, two x six construction, cement floor, pony walls, with heavy duty plywood exterior, replete with wire on the windows, barn that cost me over $22,000 to build (and people wonder why the economics are no longer there for farmers). How many years will it take me to pay that back at $5 per dozen eggs minus expenses? It is so far into the future that is hardly worth calculating.  Now let’s factor in the loss of, and replacement cost of my stock…

Last night, he was back though we were armed with an electric fence around the chicken house. Though the bear did not enter the chicken house last night he instead worked his way into the goat pen. I now not only fear for the life of the rest of my captive chickens but I am now worried about my goats. The conservation officer won’t do anything about this because, according to him, “it is just chickens.” According to the Ministry of Environment, chickens lives are not valuable. Not valuable to those who have a nice, well paid, government job replete with benefits and holiday pay and affords him the luxury of going to the store to buy their eggs (which come from a factory farm, mostly likely in Chiliwack, on land that has already been taken away from the grizzly bears). Somehow, history doesn’t feature for many people. In their minds it is OK to farm in Chilliwack  where we have killed and/or otherwise displaced all the bears, but not in Bella Coola.

How are we to develop a local food system if we are supposed to let the grizzly bears eat what we are raising for our own needs?

I’ll write more later. Right now I’m just too upset (and believe me, that is putting it in terms fit for the public).


If you are new to the blog and want to follow the bear issues, see the following:

Bears and fruit trees:

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

Part five


Filed under Animal issues, Bears, Conservation, Food Security, Politicking with predators, Politics of Food

9 responses to “Needless Suffering Comes Home to Roost

  1. Really sorry to hear it. I really don’t even know what to say about it other than I feel badly that you have to deal with it.

  2. Tell the CO it’s eating your garbage and seems to have developed a liking for it. And for your neighbors garbage (get them on board) spread garbage out and even make a garbage “den” out in the woods. THEN they might take you seriously. Last year they trapped a black bear across the road from us that kept coming for the apples we had stored for our piggies. He loved garbage too……and had a hoard out in the bushes…….Just an idea……

  3. workingcollies

    Sorry to hear, that is so frustrating, you are definitely in a whole different ball game than we are south of you, with just coyotes and rare cougars to deal with here. And our laws are more on the famers’ side- we have the leg right to shoot anything that’s on our property killing livestock (except eagles). I think the Ministry is misled on this one!

  4. queen of string

    Apparently it’s ok to farm chickens in huge sheds with no access to natural light, but if you want to be a little more humane to your chickens no one will help you to protect them.

    Very sad for your girls.

  5. Jo

    So sorry to hear about that, it’s no joke when your livelihood’s on the line.

  6. When I saw that little ‘1’ next to HDR on my RSS feeds I was delighted, She’s posting again! Now I’m kind of deflated, that feeling of seeing your livelihood disappear over the horizon is gutting.
    Best Wishes

  7. So sorry to hear about your chickens, what a tough issue to deal with.

  8. LittleFfarm Dairy

    Ironically under “old rules” goats were classed as
    ‘poultry’ according to the Ministry of Agriculture. At least here in the UK, that is no longer the case – unlike what seems to be happening in BC these days.

    Mind you; we’re not allowed to kill “ickle cuddly-wuddly foxes & badgers” as they are beloved of the Public & actually, livestock keepers all over the world, are sadly misguided: don’t we realise these predators are actually just cute, fluffy, fun & harmless? Same as rabbits; grey squirrels; polecat; mink; wild boar; cougar; coyotes; wolves etc…??

    Oh, how ill-informed we farmers/ smallholders/ homesteaders, are. If only we realised: it’s our fault for encouraging these cute wild animals to forage rather than just going down the grocery store for our intensively-reared eggs/meat like everyone else…then there wouldn’t be an issue.

    Get rid of the small farmer; & you get rid of the problem.

    We feel for you Kristeva; we really do. It’s bad enough losing half your precious flock (not to mention the time & money spent in having to repair all the damage) – but to now be worrying about your lovely goats….how soon is it, before you get to move out?

    Sorry matie; but what scares us more than anything, is that you’re next on the menu…!!

    Love n’hugs,

    Jo, Tony & “Funny Ffarm” menagerie xxx

  9. Wow, I’m so glad that the worst predator we get is the occasional fox!

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