Monday, July 16, 2012

Low profile

Predators make it much more difficult to find consensus. It's a lot easier to agree about birds and plants than about animals that endanger people and livestock. ~ Gale Norton

Rooster ... "Shhhhhhhhhhh  I have been keeping a low profile.  Saving my neck is what I've been doing.  I will let my scratch dealer tell you our story."

Farmer....Earlier in the summer we bought some baby turkeys, geese, ducks and chickens.  They got big but not big enough to go in the coop and pasture with the adults.  We made a temporary shelter for them using a dog crate with a sheet of plywood thrown over the top and their own fenced yard inside the fenced pasture.  They were locked in the dog crate every night which was in a 6 foot locked fenced area.   But something came and killed 3 turkeys and 4 chickens, by grabbing threw the openings and decapitating them.  Then it completely gutted one.   

So we put the crate into the coop, letting the remaining small ones into their own area during the day and putting them safely away in the pen inside the coop at night.  And we put up the trail cam to see what our problem was.  We didn't have long to wait.

It was a raccoon.  Now the coop has a full size front door and a small door on the side that slides up.  Part of our barn was an old school house and the coal shed is what my parents converted into a chicken coop.  A week later the raccoon slid the wooden side door up, got inside the coop and killed a baby duckling that my larger duck hatched and killed four of my larger chickens which were roosting in the rafters.  Again only one was gutted the rest were left with their heads bit off.  I probably would not be as upset if they were all eaten.  

Needless to say Mrs. Raccoon has now gone on to that happy hunting ground in the sky.  Add to this a fox which has been picking off the adult ducks and I was almost out of the chicken/egg business.  My animals are free range within a couple of acres of fenced pasture.  At first it was the sheep/goat fencing the fox could slip through.  When smaller fencing was added around the bottom they dug under and if a trap was set there they dug somewhere else.  The fox will soon go visit the raccoon, it is just a matter of time. I grew up on a dairy farm and while young my parents raised several fawns.  I have a great appreciation for wildlife but when no deterrent works than it is me/mine or them.  Luckily for Rooster I like him.

Rooster... "And now that I can stick my head up again with out fear of getting it bit off I will let them continue to crow about their other doings...."

Farmer... In other farm news, we used hog panels and sectioned off a 1/4 acre of additional pasture for the pigs.  We have everything needed to build a new chicken coop…now we just need the time.  You know that old saying "be careful what you wish for"?  Well the man may have extra time as his job is thinking of laying off workers and cutting hours of others.  A decision was suppose to be made today but nothing was said so we wait and worry.

It has just been disgustingly hot and we are in desperate need of rain.  Last night it rained  1/4 inch...not much but I am not complaining.  Some rain is better than none.  I have resorted to watering my garden to the risk of my well.  But the heat and lack of rain is taking a toll.  After a late start my tomatoes are just getting tomatoes.  My beans have yet to flower but I have been harvesting broccoli.  The blackberries are ripening so I have been picking and freezing until I feel like making jam.

The knitting bug has bit me again.  I finished the Afternoon Tea shawl.  I also finished four hats and a fifth is on the needles.  And I finished off a bobbin of the cotswold.  Hey if the winter is as cold as the summer is hot we will need all this!


cyndy said...

SO sorry to hear about the flock.

Our hens are in lockdown too. we have a mother fox with 2 kits. almost lost one hen, walked outside just in time to see the fox with her in his mouth!

critters are fierce this summer.

I've been spinning that gift of cotswold too! lovely stuff.

Linda said...

I sure hope you solved the predator problem. What a horrible sight to start the day with. Sorry to hear about your husband's job situation; keeping fingers crossed for you both. It has been unbearable here, temp wise. We just got a couple of days reprive, but it's going to heat up again this weekend. Autumn, pleeez!! Have a great rest of the week and weekend -- hope you can stay cool.

Sandie Knapp said...

After going through much of the same thing with our ducks and geese, I am glad you found out who the predator was, and took care of at least the one. Braer Fox had best move on too, if he's as smart as he thinks he is. LOL

My garden is doing fabulous, but like you, I must water it every night. But we've been picking zucchini for weeks, and cucumbers as well. Just did up a mess of broccoli, and the peppers are now beginning to form. The tomato plants are loaded, so it's just a waiting game, for them to ripen enough for picking.

Good luck with your beans. They should have plenty of time, so hang in there. :)