Sunday, August 19, 2012

Real Homesteding For Real People, DANGER! (Graphic PG-13)

For most people here you understand how I live and the reasons why I live the way I do. It is a system that balances on many factors, some I can control, some I can't.

I know I have had ONE egg fried and savored in the last two months. No pancakes, no Souffles, no cakes, nothing that requires a egg. Sadly my old flock is in its senior years, and the girls are beyond their hot flashes and have just about stopped laying. I would cull them, but their are our first flock and I said I would only cull them if it made them live more comfy.

The new flock has had a Rooster, a kind gentle Silkie. I didn't know he had fight in him, but now I know he does, and he is ready to defend the flock.

Growing up on a Farm, you understand sometimes bad things happen. In order to secure the problem you have to look at the evidence and decide how and what happened. Even when you look at what is there before you, it isn't what it seems.

Joshua came in and mentioned he saw a Red-Tail Hawk looming in the trees near the coop and he saw one dead chicken and other stuff. We had just come home from Church and I was cooking lunch, but it was a Homesteaders worst fear, grabbing the gun to defend what is yours. I will defend my way of living and my food including my animals.

Wait... You can't shoot at a Hawk against the law, but my thoughts were different as he said he saw a dead chicken. I knew it wasn't a Hawk, a Hawk would carry its pray off to eat... But I knew that the killer was near and close by. I thought a dog was near by, and if lived by me and your dog entered my property line and killed my chickens, I would kill your dog. I have no relationship with your dog, my dog has been trained to guard the chickens and not harm them.

So as the evidence was there, a dead chicken laid at my feet, I looked at the method of killing and looked around the pen. It was the scene of horror for a chicken, a real reason why they are so skittish by nature. Piles of feathers, each pile near or around the edge of the fence.

I figured if a coon had made the kills, I would find more dead chickens as I had 7 still missing. I ruled out a yottie, and then a weasel was considered. I didn't know so we recovered the live chickens secured them.

After lunch I went out to look around and decided to make my "chicken call" just in case the girls had escaped some how and made a run for it... What do you know, they did, and they were still alive and called back to me!! Scared, but still alive, the Araucana ran to me (we are friends) and so she was happy and settled up in my arms. I called out to Danielle and Jessica to help me, I told Joshua where to go. We got four of them, the other three had been hurt pretty bad by the feathers in the pen. By evening they showed up ready for food and water.







I suspect a young coon came in and the rooster defended the flock while many of the got away. We did loose one chicken, and she was buried as she died unexpected and was honored.

The great news is that the girls have started to lay!!













6 comments:

  1. I feel for you! I've had 2 taken by hawks and 1 by owl. Luckily, nothing but mice seem to have made it into the coop! It's a risk having them free range but I feel it's worth it. Good luck!

    BTW... I still have my "old girls" too ;) But the young roos go to freezer camp!

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  2. I know the pain you are feeling. We lost a goose and two roosters in three separate attacks this spring. It was a horrible crime scene and I'm sure the birds suffered, which made me crazy to fix the problem. We ended up trapping 4 raccoons over a period of two weeks and they were dispatched. I still keep the trap around, just in case we have any new visitors, but so far, no new incidents. I hope you are able to find the predator. Good luck.

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  3. I totally feel you. I've lost 1 duck and 6 chickens. One each night it seems. I locked them in the chicken run today. I rather have them free range but not if they are going to get killed. It makes me so sad.

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  4. Predators suck! There is enough in the wild for them to eat without coming in and killing off our chickens and ducks! Seems as tho animals are just as bad as humans these days....opportunists! They take what's easiest for them....something that they don't have to work for in order to live! I feel your pain. We've lost several chickens now to Sharp-Shins. Our chickens are free range...they have 50 acres to cover if they want. We have 15 acres fenced for pasture and that pasture fence encompasses our home and driveway. I have 2 LGD's...one in each pasture. They will protect the chickens, even tho they are in the pastures to protect the cattle and goats. A few years ago, we had the most beautiful "mutt" rooster who was blue! We were so proud of him. We didn't know how we ended up w/that color since we had no blue chickens on the farm! So, we stood in the chicken house one night and picked out all the chickens we were going to keep for layers and move the older one's on. The next morning, I went out to feed, walked in the door to find EVERY ONE of the chickens we picked to keep, including our beautiful blue rooster...lying dead on the floor! :( You can say...OH YES IT'S ON NOW! We had a light snow the next night and in the morning, discovered foot prints in the snow around the chicken house. My hubby grabbed the gun and followed them to a small pile of junk along the driveway. He started tearing the junk off to get to the bottom only to discover a mink! One dead mink after he found him! We found THREE of them that winter! One of which was living in my sawdust pile at the barn, where my kids played quite often! We had no mice or rats that winter, but plenty of chickens and quail perished until we found them all...which we DID! We haven't had an infestation since. Our biggest culprits are the Sharp-Shins (a smaller version of a red-tail hawk) and we keep our eyes peeled for them. The guineas tend to warn us when something isn't right.

    So....I suggest guineas, if you don't have any! They are excellent watch dogs, great at eating bugs (even fleas!) and truly earn their keep. Yes..they are noisy little critters, but once you have them, you will not part w/them! Trust me :) Sorry such a long comment to let you know that I feel your pain too. Your heart goes out to the animals because you know how scared those poor chickens must have been and nothing should have to die so gruesomely!

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  5. Possums have been our worst chicken-killers. We know what killed the chickens because we caught them in the act many times. ALWAYS a possum. If you go out with a flashlight just after dark, you can usually catch them and shoot them. Just don't talk, because then they'll run. The light doesn't bother them at all.

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  6. The first predator we had come around after our chickens & ducks was a mink. I got rid of the mink after it had returned after killing off all the ducks we had as well as several chickens. The second time I found it hiding in the chicken coop, he will never bother us again is all I can say about him. We have foxes & coyotes that keep coming around & I am going to have to learn to shoot better. Skunks are also a problem at times.

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