Tuesday, July 9, 2013

24 and Counting...

In the past week I have lost 24 birds to a predator, the worst series of sneak attacks the farm has ever experienced. I am used to the spring and late fall fox pickings but this mid-summer murder fest is coming from a whole new animal. I think it's either raccoons or opossums, possibly a fisher cat. It may be a fox too, because whatever it is is is killing silently and avoiding baited traps. I lost 7 American Bresse, 4 Austrolorps, 3 Copper Marans, 4 Light Brahmas, 3 Speckled Sussex, 2 home-brewed birds and a duck. I am not happy about this and hoping I either capture, shoot, or otherwise get this predator to leave this property. I know this is part of farm life, and I know this is a the dangerous part of a keeping a free-range flock. But it's still a hard loss. I had high hopes for those Bresses. I wanted to start a breeding program here. I still have 8 Bresse chicks, in a protected tractor close to the house, but they may be kibble too soon if this reign of terror doesn't end soon.

Also, still hot and rainy here. Too much of both to ride a horse or spend time fishing. All this indoors time is making me a little bummed out. Or maybe it's turning 31. I didn't mind turning thirty at all, but 31 seems like a whole different gut punch...

The good news: there are more meat birds on the way later this month, a batch of Freedom Rangers. There's also a barred rock hen sitting on a nest of eggs. So this farm has not seen its last chicken. I'm just frustrated, feeling helpless to nature the same way chicken keepers have since the first omelet hit the pan. Today I'm hoping for a little more sunshine and a little less carnage. How about it Ma' Nature? Consider it a birthday present?

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