It’s been a rough few weeks. The predators have been out in force. Every time we thought we’d secured a pen, they’d find another way in.
I even moved the chickens to another pen that I thought might be safer, but that’s when the poor rooster met his end. He must’ve put up a heck of a fight. There were feathers everywhere.
There are only two hens left and they are nervous wrecks. They eat very little and won’t lay eggs. I told Greg maybe we should put them in the freezer since it’ll be quite a while until the chicks are old enough to keep them company.
To fight back, we’ve gone commando on the predators and have taken the war to them. Every night, we lock the hens in the chicken coop. The only way to get in is with a drill driver since we bolt it shut with half inch thick plywood.
In the meantime, we set a trap. Nearly every night we catch a possum or raccoon. But there’s an especially smart predator (probably a raccoon) who manages to go into the trap, eat the food and leave. Greg thinks it might be so big the door doesn’t close behind him to trap him–and that’s how he gets out.
We’ve always had a live and let live policy, but the killings have gone too far. They’ve killed nearly all the chickens and all the quail–more on the quail later.
It’s not just us either. The people at our local feed store are hearing the same story from other customers.
I’m beginning to think I’m raising raccoons and not chickens.
I’ve got chicks ready to go outside. We spent the last two days reinforcing the smaller grow-out pen so murderous little hands can’t reach in and grab them.
We had to go with hardware cloth with 1/2 inch mesh openings. Why so small?
That brings me to the quail. After the first slaughter where we lost three birds, we reinforced their pen with wood on the lower half.
All was good for a while. And then…
A giant chicken snake worked his way into the small diameter fence material. (1/2″ x 2″) I swear it must’ve taken him all night to squeeze through that little hole.
Unfortunately for him, once he had a quail inside him, he couldn’t get out. He ate the male quail. Bastard!
It’s too soon to tell, but for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been collecting eggs from the female (before the snake attack). I don’t know if they’re fertile, but I put them in the incubator. I should know in a few weeks if we’ll get babies.
To be honest, I’m ready to give up on quail, but Greg likes them. If we get babies, great, if not I might sell the little bird so she won’t be lonely.
It’s been awful. Every day, we walk out there to see who’s still alive. And yes, I do call out: “Bring out your dead!”
My neighbors are facing the same troubles. We expect to see our fair share of predators, but this year has been bringing them in droves. It makes me wonder if they’ve moved in from elsewhere.
It’s a part of life. I hate having to kill predators because they serve a purpose, but now they’re eating our livestock faster than we can replace them. At least the goats are safe.
On another note, this blog will be on quasi-hiatus for the next two weeks.
Tomorrow (Thursday) we’re taking Nana in for knee surgery. We pick her up on Friday.
The last time we did this, I was burning the candle at both ends trying to take care of everything and everyone. The hardest transition will be the first two weeks, but she’ll be in a sling for a solid month.
I’ll post only on Sundays (the menu post) and I’ll do a mini update on what’s going on here.
If all goes well, I should be back full time July 2nd. Please pray that all goes well. That is one little girl I want to keep safe.
You can email or text me, but my time online will be in spurts, so if I miss you it might be the next day before I answer.