Ponoka County pheasant flock without a roost after fire

(Photo submitted)(Photo submitted)
The remains of the burned out heat lamps. (Photo submitted)The remains of the burned out heat lamps. (Photo submitted)
(Photo submitted)(Photo submitted)
The pheasant coop before the fire. It had been reinforced to keep out predators. (Photo submitted)The pheasant coop before the fire. It had been reinforced to keep out predators. (Photo submitted)
Meyer’s two ringneck males are still in hiding in a tree in her yard. (Photo submitted)Meyer’s two ringneck males are still in hiding in a tree in her yard. (Photo submitted)
A stock image of a ringneck pheasant like the one that Meyers is missing. (Photo submitted)A stock image of a ringneck pheasant like the one that Meyers is missing. (Photo submitted)
A stock image of a male lady amherst pheasant. (Photo submitted)A stock image of a male lady amherst pheasant. (Photo submitted)

After losing most of their ornamental pheasant flock to coyotes in the spring, Ponoka County residents Sandy and Barrie Meyer’s remaining birds are now without their coop as well after a fire in the early hours of Dec. 31.

“This year has been hard,” said Sandy.

“We went to great measures to protect our coop and were trying to build up our flock and then this happened. What a way to wrap up 2020.”

Although both Barrie and Sandy work off the acreage and the pheasants were not their main source of income, the loss is still difficult.

“It’s a devastating loss when you come out in the middle of the night and everything’s on fire.”

The aviary, which was about 10 ft wide and 20 ft long, is believed to have caught fire from a heat lamp. The lamp was tightly secured and it’s unlikely it fell over, but it’s possible mice chewed through the wires, causing a short.

Once there was a spark, the straw on the ground was the perfect tinder.

The exact cause was ruled undetermined by the insurance company’s fire investigator.

“I’m just glad no one was hurt and no birds perished in the fire,” she said.

It was their neighbours who noticed the flames at 2:30 a.m. and notified the Meyers. The neighbour’s hay bales for their horses had been stacked on their side of the fence, next to the coop, and they were lost as well.

The Meyers were able to move their birds to keep them safe, so thankfully, none of them were lost in the blaze.

“We were lucky,” said Sandy.

“I just feel horrible for my neighbors and the loss of their hay. I’m so thankful that they noticed the fire at that time of the morning. It could have been so much worse.”

READ MORE: Fire crews clean up garage fire

After coyotes decimated the flock, getting away with 20 of their 23 birds, worth $500, the couple added tin with spikes around the perimeter so the predators couldn’t dig underneath.

They started to rebuild, however, and had nine pheasants and two pea hens before the fire.

Although no birds were harmed in the fire, their ringneck male has gone missing and their two lady amherst males won’t come down from a tree on the property.

The Meyers have only tried their hand at raising pheasants for about a year and a half. Before they had chickens, which Sandy says were much easier to care for.

Although she’s not sure what they could have done differently to prevent the fire, she is warning other poultry keepers to check any heat lamps they have frequently and to make sure they are secure and in good repair.

They had last checked their heat lamps at 5:30 p.m. the evening before but didn’t know anything was amiss until they were alerted by their neighbours.

Their flock is now being housed in a smaller shed, huddling together for warmth, as the couple is too scared to have a heat source and risk another potential fire.

Although she hopes they can rebuild, it will all depend on what the insurance will cover and what they can afford.

A gas heater may be a safer option, but a larger building would be needed, and it would be much more expensive.

“I don’t really know exactly what we’re going to do,” she said, although she says the first priority will be repairing the fence.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Ponoka County

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy.’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake man charged with fraud totalling more than $100,000

Sylvan Lake RCMP have been investigating two companies owned by the same man since June 2019

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Kenney kicks Pat Rehn out of UCP caucus after municipal complaints

Rehn had been criticized by municipal leaders in his constituency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for 2-dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

‘Realities on the ground’ means that provinces, territories will have difficult choices to make

(Pixabay photo)
Alberta surgeon who hung a noose in a hospital found guilty of unprofessional conduct

College of Physicians and Surgeons says sanctions will be determined at a later hearing

Most Read