Every fall, I buy a couple of “patio slabs” (large rectangular pieces of concrete) to put in the back of my pick-up truck for extra weight that gives me more traction in the winter. In the spring, I take these slabs and plant them in the driveway in front of my carport, to slowly create a “paved” surface to drive on.
That is what I was doing yesterday afternoon, when I happened to glance up and a bit of unexpected gray color caught my eye. It was a big hawk, on the ground by the corner post of my fence.
“Great,” I thought, “an unexpected opportunity to photograph some wildlife.”
I ducked inside the house to grab my camera. Luckily, he was still in the same spot when I came out. I immediately started to snap shots. It was then that I noticed the reddish brown object that it was feeding on. It was one of our chickens. My heart sunk.
I chased the hawk away, and carried the corpse down to the far end of the pond to let the other predators feast. I wanted to discourage the hawk from coming around the yard looking for our other two chickens.
Generally, I have been fairly successful with preventing predators from eating our livestock and pets. There was one bad example that happened once when we went on vacation.
Before we left, we had 24 chickens, who free ranged. We were gone for two weeks. Upon returning we discovered that we only had 4 chickens. I don’t know if it was hawks or coyotes who took advantage of our absence, and the absence of our dog, Mac, who we had taken along.
Now, it looks like our two remaining chickens will have to forfeit their free-wheeling lifestyle for a while, and remain in their run, until I think it is safe for them to venture out in the world again.
Of our three chickens, there was one that seemed to lay most of the eggs, while the other two just hung around together, wandering around the yard. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure it was our one worker that was killed. Life is precarious living out here on the frontier.
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