Sunday, January 12, 2014
High alert fowl
We have been on high alert after two chicken deaths last week. One was clearly a hawk, as I arrived up the drive and caught him in the act. It was my dear Golda-who skipped and hopped like no chicken I've ever had. I will miss her.
The second death happened that night, and although I first figured it was a hawk, the kill area seemed to be a raccoon, maybe several, as the feathers were spread in such a messy way. I suppose it could have been a bobcat, as we've had them, but it doesn't seem to be something a bobcat would have done.
So, much to their dismay, and mine, all fowl are contained in the hut runs and not allowed out to free range. I miss having the busy bodies running, pecking, scraping and working in the barnyard. But I would feel dreadful if I lost Priscilla or little Henny Penny who is elderly now.
I made bamboo floating ceilings to help keep a hawk from landing in the runs. I think they are a mix of "raggedy" and abstract. However at certain angles the duck hut looks a bit like lock down at a duck detention center.
I don't know a lot about hawks, or their territories. I guess all I can do is leave the fowl in for a few weeks and hope he passes through. The farm down the road lost about 20 hens this year- but to raccoons because his hut and fencing are mediocre and they were night kills. He agreed our night kill was not consistent with hawk or owl behavior, or coyote. We've never had a coyote in the barnyard. And when we get that new guard pup...oh there I went, I spilled the beans. You will hear more in mid February about that addition.
So I will try my best within my power to protect my flocks. I can't cover the skies. And I can't blame a hawk for being the hunter he is.