Thursday, January 20, 2011

Disappearing chicken mystery... solved!

Our chicken population has been mysteriously and steadily shrinking over the past month.  This has happened to us before, but not since we gave up our free-range dreams and put the chickens behind portable electric poultry netting. 

The plus side of being a free range chicken - volunteering for the road trip

In the past we have had chickens carried off by coyotes and local dogs.  Something, probably a raccoon, once ate toes off some of the young chickens while they were sleeping in the brooder porch (I know, awful, isn't it?). 

But these are full grown chickens, living behind electric fencing.  And we were still finding piles of feathers on the ground.

Farmer Boy came bursting into the house the other day and shouted "I figured it out!  I saw it in action!  It's a hawk!!"  I could not believe it... a hawk, taking full-grown chickens.  Sure sign of a drought.

We found this little guy in the woods a few years ago, struggling to fly.  How could something that starts out this cute become a killing machine?

Now this is not an easily solved problem.  We had not been planning to fence the top of the chicken area... it is really big, and how would we make that portable, or even get under there to manage the birds, and... ugh.

We have not yet decided on the solution, but I think we are down to two.  One is to move them into the planned covered-garden-perimeter-poultry run.  The other is to get a livestock guardian dog dedicated to them. 

Puppy, or massive farm project... hmmmm....

Somebody had a third idea.  Ahem.


sandy said...

Oh my! Hawks! I think I'd have to give a big thumbs up on the puppy, though Little Warrior's idea has merit, too. ;_)

Abigail said...

I like the living inside idea. Let me know how it goes ;)

We've had hawks eyeing our birds too, but they have been able to find hiding spots when they show up thus far!