Sunday, October 14, 2012

Predator Alert

We've recently had some harsh reminders of natures reality.  A few months ago we had seperated the two roosters that were less dominate in our flock.  They were relegated to the "bachelor pad".
It was a pen within our chicken yard that kept them near the flock, but in their own space.  Within the course of two nights we lost them both.  We weren't exactly sure what got them.  Domestic cat, wild cat, owl?

I wrote last month about having to seperate the last and largest rooster because he was defeathering our girls and they needed a break from his overly amourous attention.  We put him in the seperate pen but this time had a chicken wire top to prevent anything from getting in.   He'd remained there for a few months just fine until the other morning Cameron found a lot of feathers and a missing rooster.  The top of the pen in one corner had the chicken wire pulled away from the fence.  We found what was left of him partially covered by bamboo leaves in the upper part of the pool area.  This was definately an owl.  All evidence pointed to their mode of hunting, their strength because he was a BIG rooster, and the way they will store their kill for later eating. 

Unfortunately on the evening of Amber's birthday we left during sunlight, but got home after dark and closed up the hens in their house.  It was the next morning we realized we were one short.

So we have been extremely diligent to get the "girls" in their protected house before dark to prevent any more free meals for this owl.  As irritating as it is for us, it is a reality in nature.  We provided a nice buffet for a mighty hunter to access.  Now we just need to prevent it from having anymore success.

I could appreciate this mighty hunter more if it hadn't cost our flock so.  Hard lesson to learn about being truly diligent with the abilities of these predators.

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