Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reaping What I've Sown

For all of you out there who have been saying under their breaths:  "She's going to regret this".... you can all now say "I told you so". 

This morning, Keith did chores again for me, as I am still under the weather.  He did bring me the game cam, and I popped the card into the computer.  I was dismayed to see this: 

Please look at the time.  Yes, it's 7:01 AM, just before it gets really light. 
And that's a big coyote. 

I called Keith to the computer when he came in, to show him that they are really coming close now, and frequently, and that maybe I should stop feeding immediately. 

Too late. 

9:15 AM

Trust me, this is only an "enth" of the feathers, they were everywhere.  

Keith was working clear across the yard on the henspa, and even though he is deaf from artillery, became aware that the birds were screaming in terror. 
He ran in to get his gun... and I stupidly ran out the door and saw a big coyote with a black hen in it's mouth. I yelled at it, and it ran off exactly to the place where there is a passage under the fence, that I showed you last night. 
Keith was furious, because he had intended to kill it.  

I went out there and found at least six places where birds had been attacked, so we think there were possibly two coyotes.  I saw a black bird being carried off, and Keith saw a brown bird. 

They got Legs Diamond, our beautiful young rooster.  Keith euthanized him. 

Of course, barring the door after the cows got out, I have been taking layers over to the henspa, which could accomodate about six more.  I moved four bigger hens, and one tiny little Old English gamebird, Susie, because she is one of my favorites. 

I'll move two more tonight, once all the drama in there has settled down. 

The moral of the story is, all feeding stops today.  Keith is throwing Legs over into the wild area tonight... and I'm going to block the access hole with cinderblocks.  As Keith says, "They'll only find another way in..." because they are opportunistic, and it's mid-winter.  (Jill, my friend the naturalist, and I are both pretty philosophical) 

The birds are securely locked at night and repairs to the henyard fence were on the slate, anyway. 

I'm actually more worried about the skunk than anything.... as was Jill, too. 

In happier news, Keith has been working all weekend on this, and it's looking very good: 

Lag bolts holding the railing tightly to the deck: 

He will go around and screw the bottoms of all the spacers when he is finished.  I appreciate this so much, because sometimes I would get disoriented going across the deck, it was up just high enough to worry me since my eyesight is so bad.  I was very worried about Abby walking off it and hurting herself, too.  There will be handrails on either side of the steps now with the finish of this project today, and the railings are so strong and tight, we're going to hang a planting box from them. 

I'm going to make cookies this afternoon for a meeting Keith has tomorrow, so had best get busy.  

It stuns me that even at 62, I'm still learning the hard way!  


  1. I'm so sorry about your chickens and roosters. Coyote is just doing what he is made to do... eat when he is hungry. I hope you can secure the hen house so that no more accidents happen.
    The new deck looks great!

  2. I'm so sorry, Mary Ann. I know they are more than egg-layers to you, they are your friends and pets. If they're coming that late in the morning I would worry about the dogs if they go out to potty. There's always heartbreak on a farm along with the joy, always more work to do but you two are hard workers. Best of luck with all the safety precautions you're doing and especially for the deck. It will look so pretty too when it's finished.

  3. Keith is doing a great job on the deck!! Hope there won't be any more losses!

  4. Afternoon, that is a big coyote, poor rooster and hens........yes, joy and heart ache on the farm....Love the deck, Blessings Francine.

  5. I'm sorry, Mary Ann. That really stinks! Hopefully the coyote stays away!

  6. The saying has been used on different species, including humans, but the only good coyote is a dead coyote.

  7. Mary Ann, IMHO it's not so much that you learn the hard way, but that you have a tender heart for all God's creatures. We value some more than others because we paid money for them/get something from them/have closer relationships with them, but all are special manifestations of the Creator's artistry and I have loved the glimpses you have shared of the wildings. I'm sorry for your losses, but like you I don't blame the animals. Even our pet dogs and cats sometimes do that kind of damage, as you know from Lilly Ann. Hugs....

  8. Ooo! We have big coyotes around here and if our hens weren't in Chicken Alcatraz I'm sure we'd lose some to them. I'm sorry you've lost your beautiful rooster. xoxo

  9. Love the rails and so sorry about your hens. Keith will most likely have to shoot them in order to put a stop because, I agree, there is more than one.

  10. Oh, I'm sorry about your birds.
    The deck looks really good - so well made.

  11. You are not alone in the learning department. I'm always learning something new everyday and it's often something I should have known anyway. We've all be there at one time or another. That coyote is a big fella. I thought they usually ran in packs so I figure there is more than one around. If nothing else you will make it more difficult for them. At least you have some good there with the bad. The deck railings are great. It's amazing what a difference they do make.

  12. We don't have chickens yet, still a couple years away from that, but we do know from the family that lives at the other end that there are coyotes out and about. They make me nervous for just if I ever encounter one while out wandering around. So sorry that happened, but like you said, part of life on the farm I suppose. The deck and railing look wonderful by the way.

  13. Coyote, yikes! We have not had coyotes, though some have been reported in more rural regions of the county. I have lost chickens to hawks though, and one to a dog.

    Your project looks super though. Well done!

  14. He looked so big I thought he was a wolf. Why would he eat dog food when there were fresh chickens? I'm so sorry, but that's nature. Henspa and deck are looking good.

  15. I'm sorry Mary Ann but I tend to agree with Gorges Smythe. After losing a couple of cats and two hens we don't tolerate them anywhere near our property. I would be worried about the skunk and the fox too.
    On a brighter note, the deck is looking fabulous!

  16. We can't tolerate the predators either not up at the house/barn. Anywhere else it's fine but we have a large wooded property so it's easy to enjoy them away from here. I know they are really unique critters. I'm sorry you lost a bird - they take what they can. What always scares me is my small dogs, that's why we have a zero tolerance law - of course they still come around. There was a fisher behind my barnyard last night but that's what the Great Pyrenees are there for. Hope you manage to not have any further troubles. The railing looks awesome and will be so useful for you!

  17. That's scary. He did a great job on the deck.

  18. You all work so hard to keep your animals safe. Its sad to see things sneak in and kill your birds, so sad.


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