The theft of some high-quality waterfowl has left a Marshfield farmer in fear.
Although four Emden geese have since been found and returned to his home, Darrin Pettitt said the experience, as well as the previous theft of six heritage-breed ducks, has violated his sense of safety.
“Emotionally and mentally, it’s put me in a bad state,” said Pettitt, who uses his farm, Blast From Past Heritage Acres, as a form of PTSD therapy.
In mid-January, Pettitt said six of his ducks were stolen from his property. While the initial incident left him distressed, he noted he did not contact police as he thought they would likely suggest it was due to a predator.
However, Pettitt noted there was plenty of poultry on the farm, which would make it odd for a predator to target six specific ducks. Also, there were no signs of an attack.
Less than a week later, after returning from picking up family at the airport, Pettitt realized that four Emden geese he had purchased from a top breeder and planned to show in exhibitions had disappeared.
“They were big beautiful birds,” he said. “I knew somebody took them. A fox or coyote doesn’t come in and pick and choose what breed they’re going to eat, they pick what is easy.”
“Emotionally and mentally, it’s put me in a bad state.”
Pettitt took to Facebook and in a closed group for P.E.I. homesteaders described the incident, adding that he had contacted RCMP.
He also put the word out that the geese were micro-chipped.
About a day later, Pettitt was working in his yard when someone drove in from Loomis Express, located across from his farm. The man told Pettit that someone had dropped off a number of geese in the Loomis yard and left.
“Whoever, I think, caught wind of, ‘Oh ok they’re micro-chipped geese’,” he said.
Pettitt also encouraged others with high-quality breeds of waterfowl to consider micro-chipping.
“There’s too many people with good birds,” he said.
Because Pettitt doesn’t leave his property often, he believes the thief was someone in the area who knew he was away.
An RCMP officer went to his farm Saturday after the geese were returned, and Pettitt said the officer told him he would check the security cameras at Loomis Express to see if he could find the person who left the geese.
While the ducks were not micro-chipped, Pettitt believes it was the same culprit who stole the geese.
“I have no doubt,” he said. “It’s someone who knows the quality of the birds.”
Apart from his sense of safety, the incident has impacted Pettitt financially. He is now installing a gate for his driveway and a security system. He’s also getting a guard dog for his livestock.
“I thought these were things I’d slowly add on for good farm management, but it’s pretty unnerving.”