Keeping 100 + souls healthy and happy and safe from predators is a full time job...
and one we take quite seriously.
Protecting our precious friends has been a challenge and a learning experience.
We have secure housing for our animals and good fencing.
One of the most dangerous areas of the farm is the pond.
The pond is located at the edge of the woods.
Asside, from floating in the middle of the pond,
there is no other safe area for the ducks that live there.
And, sadly, though they may be safe from land mammals,
the are "sitting ducks" for owls who hunt silently and stealthily at night.
For this reason, we have a light at the duck hut by the pond that shines
during the night... in an effort to blind the owls... whose vision is better in the dark than the light.
Our woods are full of coyotes, coy-wolves (a coyote/wolf hybrid),
bobcats, hawks, owls, raccoons, mink, to name just a few.
Luckily, none of these (except the hawks) tend to hunt during the daylight hours.
Chickens are vary wary of what is in the sky,
and will take cover if they suspect that a predator is near.
Having chicken yards with wire roofing has helped to keep chickens relatively safe from hawks.
Having the chicken housing close to larger mammal housing helps as well.
The presence of goats and horses is a deterrent for predators as well.
All of our animals (except the guineas who roost high in the pine tree)
have safe shelter for the night.
And yet, despite all of our efforts, occasionally, one of our loved ones will fall
victim to a predator.
Last week, Hubbs and I had been gone for the evening...
and Fred was out past curfew.
It wasn't until we found a suspicious pile of turkey wing feathers as well as some
downy feathers the next day that we knew something foul had happened.
We inspected Fred and found that he was missing most of the feathers of his left wing,
as well as a large area of his chest.
His chest had a superficial laceration on it as well.
Both Hubbs and I felt awful to find that Fred had gone through such trauma.
We have no idea what attacked him...
and luckily his wounds were mostly cosmetic.
But still.... it was a close call and one that we want to avoid at all cost.
From now on, the turkeys will be led home early...
especially now that the sun goes down so much earlier!
We made an oath to live side by side with wild nature...
Doing so takes a bit of creativity.
Wild animals need to eat... and I cannot deny them that.
After all, this is their world just as much as it is our world.
The burden lies on us... keeping our beloved farm critters out of the food chain.