Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lessons Learned

It seems that farm life teaches us lessons every time we turn around.
Some days we are lucky enough to find someone else's experiences to help guide us,
and some days (more than not) we resort to trial and error.

Over the years we have made many improvements to our chicken yards...
in an attempt to solve problems as they arise.

The metal mesh roof on the chicken yard was the answer to preying hawks.
Then, in an attempt to keep out unwanted sparrows, swallows, and grackles,
we added a finer chicken wire to the roof.

However, realizing that a heavy snow would end up collapsing our entire yard,
we then removed said chicken wire as a preventative measure.

Which brought us right back to the same problem...
how to keep unwanted wild birds from roosting in our henhouses?

We thought and pondered and came up with this solution....

a garden owl to scare the birds away!

This is a great owl.
It attached to the upright pole with a couple of screws.
It has a clear fin on the back of its head to catch the gentle breezes,
thus making its head turn just like a real owl.
(Except for the fact that real owls sleep during the daytime,
and not usually out in plain sight.)

But then we were counting on the tiny birds not being able to reason through
this thought process.

As you can see.......

the birds are smarter than we think.
The owl did not affect their roosting habit at all.

In fact, I have witnessed those little birds chuckling at the owl
as they sit right under his nose.
Any suggestions????

There are some things around the farm that I have definitely learned not to leave to chance.
Horseback riding is one of those things.

Lessons are are a must.
And lessons with as gifted a teacher as the one that Becky and I have
are priceless.

Cindy is the most amazing teacher.
Unbelievably well versed in every discipline,
she can spot a problem a mile away and always has the best advice for correcting it.
Safety is he number one goal....
and for that I am thankful.

Here is Cindy working with Becky and Sid.
(and of course during my lesson, the camera was in my pocket!)

In spite of no pictorial proof,  I have to tell you...
we had a great lesson.
And the difference in Moonbeam from beginning to end was astonishing.
I have committed to continuing our I promise, I will produce pictures!!

I did have to show you....
no matter where we go or what we do around the farm,
these silly turkeys are always with us!
Perhaps I should teach them to work my camera!!

(I cannot wait for that we can plant some grass around the arena.
For now, it is a bit of a swamp!)


  1. Pinwheels. Lots of them.

  2. Your chicken yard is beautiful! Mine is not so big. I only have seven chickens and our run is 18' x 18'. We solved the problems you described by putting an actually roof over our run. It works beautifully, but your run (which is actually even better for the chickens because of it's size) would be expensive to roof completely. Depends how much you want to put into it.

    Love your arena. We haven't ridden in more than a month because of soggy ground.

  3. I had put an owl in my chicken yard due to the loss of two of my good hens to hawks! Not sure if it's working or not. I had been moving it around from post to post.

  4. Hi Bev.
    What about electrifying the fence?
    Lisa in Maine

  5. I'm don't have any good ideas for the chicken coop. I don't have to worry about snow and I haven't had the little bird problem. I do have one scrub jay that has adopted me and he know when I open the door for the girls to come out. He just hops right in and helps himself to corn scratch! I figure he doesn't eat much and he provides entertainment. I like the pinwheel suggestion. Could be colorful!

  6. Awesome chicken run! I use the black mesh netting used to put over apple trees and blueberry bushes and it works well!! Good luck!~~Rain

  7. Good Morning Bev! Doesn't it just get your dander up when the sparrows outsmart you...they really are gutsy little things. Your arena is WONDERFUL...what a perfect place to have your lessons. No sleet or snow or rain or wind can stop you from enjoying your riding doesn't get much better than that. I'm looking forward to seeing photo's of you on horseback. Have fun!
    Maura :)

  8. Our chicken yard on our hobbie farm were I grew up had a steel or tin type roof as we had the same problems they still had fresh air and day light and were protected from above ! Loved all your photos. Glad to hear you are taking riding lessons and have a wonderful teacher. I cant wait to see more photos of that !I just love the riding arena. Have a wonderful day !

  9. Hoot,Hoot
    Sid is a very handsome fellow..
    So glad that you and Moon Beam are together again.enjoy your lessons..

  10. Can't wait to see you on a horse. Getting lessons in that wonderful arena must be so fun!

  11. You can get very large shade cloths through online tarp companies. We had one with reinforced holes for tie-downs. It worked great and was also a nice protection from the heat of the day. If the little sparrows are getting through on the sides of the run, you can extend it down the side. I have a million pesky sparrows but no cover on my chicken yard. I have heard that you can tie CD's around and it will deter them. I haven't tried it.
    Love your turkeys.

  12. We have chicken wire over our chicken run but hubby pitched it in the center using 4x4's. It might help keep the snow from accumulating (we don't have to worry about snow here!).

    Love the turkeys!

  13. Our cats have been good, so far, about keeping the wild birds out of the hen house. BTW, wild rabbits just laugh at the fake owls too.


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