Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Figuring it Out

Well... we think we may have figured out what's going on here. 

We thank all of your for your comments. 

If you have been reading us for a couple of years, you know that we went through another period when we lost 12 chickens over the space of two weeks.  

I wrote about the final battle HERE. 

If you read that, it will tell you about Rocky, a young rooster we had, who battled a red shoulder hawk to a standstill and almost died doing so.  In fact, when I got out there, Rocky was in a heap, bleeding, on the ground, and I thought he was dead.  I found the hawk (you will see pictures in that story) unable to fly, and Keith and I were able to throw a towel over it, and put it in a carrier, and then take it to Operation Wildlife here in Linwood, Kansas (near us) to be rehabbed. 

I think we are being harrassed again by another big hawk, and here's the reason why. 

These guys were on bug patrol last night in the pasture, and Keith and I were standing there talking about them. 

That was taken this morning, of course. 

Anyway, as they ate last night, I saw them scream and run for the henyard as fast as their little legs could carry them.  We looked up, and a huge buzzard was circling low. 
He could not or would not have hurt them... but it told us that they are freaking at the sight of flying predators. 

A hawk could easily pick up a bird and take off with it... we know, because we saw the red shoulder dive-bomb the birds several times. 

I ran out twice to run it off.  
So... I have the game cam out to see what's going on during the day time, now. 

I just stopped typing, as we had a power fluctuation... and went outside to check on everyone.  I notice that the chickens are all in the henyards... the big and little henyards.  Everyone is under cover.  One duck was trapped in the goatyard, she must have fit under the gate... and I let her loose to run back to her friends. 

I still think it's a hawk. 

In answer to some of your comments... yes, we have live traps in three sizes.  We have seen only one raccoon here... and unfortunately, had to kill it when Lilly attacked it in the yard.  I was plagued with coons at the old Calamity Acres, so am well aware of their propensities for tender chicken. 

I don't think the dog coyote I showed you yesterday, with the damaged leg... is capable of chasing down a healthy chicken.  He's so obviously starving now. 

We haven't seen the vixen in months, but that doesn't mean she isn't coming by. 

However, we DO have a puzzle this morning: 

This was caught last night.  There is an animal sniffing at the camera (it flashes red as it takes the picture) and another animal to the left of the white "ear" of the first animal... you can see the rounded head of the animal that is sniffing at the camera, and the other animal moved just as the picture snapped.  Are they coyotes?  I fear they are dogs, which are the worst of all predators in my mind.  Dogs that are allowed to run free in the country often pack up and go after livestock and small wild creatures... and calves, goats, etc..  Farmers feel free to shoot them... and I know someone who, to this day, does not know that one of her dogs was shot killing calves one night.  That dog, a livestock guardian Anatolian shepherd never killed any of her poultry, but had a taste for blood. 

Do you see the animal to the left of the "ear".... is it a coyote or a dog?  This was taken at 9:39 last night. 
It's not really the shape of a coyote, but was standing at an odd angle.  

The ear closer to the camera almost looks like a cat's, or a smaller dog. 

Our property has livestock fence clear around, but we know there are at least two tunnels. 

In happier news... these little guys are just an unending source of fun: 

Kaycee, for some reason... has bonded very well with Keith.  He loves for Keith to hold him, or to let him sit on his lap.  Keith loves the little goats, he has always wanted some. 

You see how big they are getting! 

Keith called to me as I was shutting off the pump last night... SOMEONE was UP in the TUB, eating my corn!!!! 

He jumped down guiltily as I came around the corner. 

I was surrounded by a bucolic scene as I was filling the duck pond... Kaycee was eating from a pile of dead leaves I put in the henyard for them, and Kody, for the first time that I have seen him, was contentedly laying there waiting, and chewing his cud!   

I pulled the last five onions from the bin in the old hoophouse... and am very satisfied with the harvest we got from these onions this year.  In fact, planting them in the bins and barrels was so successful that I'm going to do it again next year.  

I have squash and melon in the half barrels now. 

Dinner last night... we eat so lightly now.  This was tomatoes and garlic stir-fried in extra virgin olive oil in my iron skillet... with some baked chicken cut up fine, some mozzarella also cut up fine, and fresh basil from our deck.  I put the very lightest of pesto on the spaghetti... it was mostly olive oil from the tomatoes.  If I had had peas or squash, I would have thrown them in, too.  

We would have drowned it in sauce in the old days, and had a side of garlic bread (two or three pieces!). 
I'm not saying we don't ever eat sauce now... we do... but not with every pasta meal. 

I'm going to be making some sauce soon, in fact: 

Tomato "Super Sauce"... WOW. 

The senior Yoders will be stopping by today, so I must get the house straightened up and finish up a few things outside.  They are stopping on a trip from Texas to Denver, to see our place, and to have dinner with Keith's daughters and their families and us tonight, and continue on tomorrow. 

We have a surprise coming that we had hoped to show you by now... but plans hit a glitch on Sunday evening, so we are waiting a few more days for things to work out.  I think you'll all be surprised! 


  1. Your farm is always so lovely to look at, we love to see how the baby goats are growing. we sure hope you figure out soon who the culprit is so your farm animals will all be safe again. so so sorry to hear about your little rooster.
    stella rose

  2. I have a juvenile hawk in my front tree. I know he is taking in the sights with it being hot and my young chickens being in the yard. Reading about your poor chickens I will be more on my guard.
    I think dogs are the worse killers by far than a fox or a coyote. They just slaughter.
    I wonder if that is a dog. I looked and looked at the photos.
    I hope you find out soon and you don't loose any more chickens or ducks or anything else.

  3. Do you have bobcats in your area?

  4. We have hawks, but our pen is not too wide and the hen house is in the middle. I have blueberries, pineapple guava and now 3 figs planted in there.

    We heard that if it's narrow and not too wide, it would keep the hawks from being able to swoop in. Don't know if that's true.

    Can't figure out what the critter in the game cam is. Keith looks happy holding the little boy.

    Have fun with your company.

  5. The critter kinda looks like a cat to me. Hope you find what has been going after your animals.

  6. Wow! You don't have a black headed buzzard by any chance? I think I've heard they'll go after live animals.

  7. Mary Ann, I love your red and white plates! And your pasta dish looks so appetizing on it. I guess summer is the best time to make healthier choices in eating, especially when you have all those garden fresh vegetables. Now if you can just keep Kayce and Kody out of them! It would be mighty hard to say no to them.

  8. Anyway of putting up a wire netting over head, in the middle of the yard so the hawk can't dive bomb the chickens. I had to move my birdfeeder from a pole in the middle of my yard because the song birds were easy prey for an orange tailed hawk. I hung the bird feeder in a maple tree and haven't had any problems since. The little birds, including jays, doves, woodpeckers and such - are able to land on limbs and have a natural cover insteed of being out in the open!

  9. I have seen wild dogs cause must trouble. Well, not so much wild dogs and dogs allowed to run in packs at night.

    It is an unspoken rule among farmers around here to stop this action. After dogs start this it is very hard to stop them.

    I'm sorry I cannot tell from the photo.

  10. Its a mystery for sure!
    I know one thing for sure- the baby goat is cute!

  11. Hope you have a great time with your visitors today. It's always nice to have a family together to enjoy a meal. Your pasta dish looks wonderful!


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