Two Cranbrook homesteaders are disappointed after a bear wreaked havoc on their chicken coop during the night on Monday, June 28th.
Mike and Shirley Connelly live just outside of Cranbrook on Highway 3. They woke up on Tuesday morning to find that their chicken coop had been broken into. Luckily, no hens were hurt in the process.
The back door to the coop was completely ripped down, and a hole was torn in the small entrance that the chickens use to get inside.
“We assume it was a grizzly bear,” Mike said, adding that there have been reports of a grizzly in the area, specifically up Hidden Valley Road.
“This isn’t the first time this has happened. The same thing happened last year, but the bear destroyed the front entrance of the coop. We had to completely re-do the entire thing and now it’s the same story with the back of the structure,” Mike explained.
With the cost of lumber at an all-time high right now, the Connelly’s estimate it will cost around $3,000 to fix what was destroyed by the bear.
“It’s a big disappointment. The nesting box was completely destroyed,” said Mike. “We’ve tried to get a hold of the Ministry of Environment, but no one answers our calls, no one gets in touch. I guess the only thing we can do is fix the damage. We will extend the electric fence but I’m not confident that it will stop a grizzly.”
The Connelly’s have an electric fence surrounding their garden, so they plan on extending the electric fence around the adjacent chicken coop to try to keep the bears out, which is another added cost. They also worry that their hens won’t produce eggs for the next few days after being spooked by the bear.
With the current heat wave that has blanketed the entire province, Mike and Shirley are working as fast as they can to remedy the situation.
“We’ve lived here for 31 years, this is our 28th year farming and we had planned for it to be our last,” Mike said. “We’re not even sure what the bear is after. We’re assuming the grain (chicken feed) since all of the chickens seem to be fine.”
According to the latest data on WildSafeBC’s Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP), there have been reports of both a grizzly bear and a black bear along Highway 3 in the last few days. There is also a report of a grizzly bear in City limits on June 28th.
All bears that are aggressive in nature or sighted in urban areas should be reported to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.