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Friday, December 18 2009

My day began with dead chickens. Well, actually only one dead chicken, with visions of many more to come. A canal runs along the entire south side of my property. This canal is a Predator Superhighway and is the main reason why all livestock smaller than Border Collie MUST be locked up when the sun comes down. (The Zombie Wars begin!)

My bird pen is, unfortunately, on the south side of the property, right along the canal. It is about a 1/4 of an acre, covered in bird netting on the top, field fencing on the sides, and a short sheet of tin along the ground. The chicken coop is a metal/wood building enclosed on three sides. The fourth side has field fencing covering bird netting. There is a wooden door and a piece of heavy welded wire cattle panel across the wooden door (like burglar bars!) so the chickens can put themselves up at night when I have to leave the house before dark. Anyone caught outside the henhouse after dark is in danger. Or dead.

This set-up has worked for a while--until last night. My first clue (even before coffee I could figure this out) was the pile of feathers beside the chicken coop door. In my neighborhood, a pile of feathers is a BAD thing.  Either Blue Heeler has shredded a down-filled jacket, OR there is a dead chicken somewhere.

It would appear that The Boogey Beast managed to get inside the main pen and slip up to the chicken coop. It then grabbed a chicken that was sleeping too close to the wire. Although it wasn't able to pull the whole chicken through the wire, the hen is dead and partially eaten. 

I HATE picking up dead chickens!  I wish I had a $100 bill for every dead chicken I've had to pick up over the years. Needless to say, there were NO eggs today. Also, none of the birds wanted to walk past the scene of the attack to get outside this morning.  Duh! I'm sure it was a bit traumatic to watch their girlfriend get eaten. And like Jurassic Park, the predator WILL be back. I'm not sure where it's getting in, but it will most certainly be back tonight. I've seriously considered getting a couple of Livestock Guardian Dogs for that area, but then, who would protect my chickens from the Livestock Guardian Dogs?

I am reminded of something a friend said to me some time ago. She told me, "I just can't wait to get home at night so I can work on my Virtual Farm!"  I was intrigued. What the hell is a Virtual Farm? She is on Facebook and loves to play FarmTown or Farmville, or Farmsomething. I asked her if there were "virtual coyotes" on her virtual farm.

"Of course not," she said, "It's a VIRTUAL farm!" (Hmpfh!  City Girl!)

I questioned further and determined that there were also no vet bills on her virtual farm. Hmmmmmm . . . exactly how does one farm with "virtual coyotes and virtual vet bills?"

I bet there are also no virtual dead chickens on a virtual farm. 

Update on Otis: He is getting better. The swelling is still down. He is taking his antibiotics, his Red Cell, and molasses.

Update on Dora: Before I get 500 emails asking me if Dora the Explorerer is okay, YES! she is! Dora didn't live this long because she sleeps beside the fence at night. The victim was one of the brown chickens who was not nearly as wise as Dora. 

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 08:44 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

Red Feather Ranch, Failte Gate Farm
Email: failte@farmfreshforensics.com

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