Thursday, September 28, 2017

Staying Out of The Food Chain

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...
in harmony.
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.


  1. Thank goodness it wasn't worse than it was!! I kind of didn't want to finish reading once I started. You do a great job at keeping everyone safe.


  2. I worry about my hens when I let them out to free range also - I have lost a few to hawks and fox, who picked them off in broad daylight when we were nearby on the farm!... it's a balancing act, for sure - their need to forage, it's good for their health, and our need to keep them safe.

    I wondered what you did for the ducks. They are indeed "sitting ducks" with all the predators. That's why I don't have free roaming guineas or ducks, although I would love them. I just hate the carnage.

  3. We also keep a radio playing at the pond to keep the foxes away.

  4. Excellent caretakers you are . . .
    Living true to your HAVEN name . . .
    Hope Fred heals and continues his gobble gobble.

  5. Glad Fred is OK. You can only do so much and you do more than most.

  6. You might consider getting a livestock guardian dog at some point. I have had my Maremma, Bess, now for two and a half years, and she has made a huge difference in keeping my cattle, sheep, and particularly the chickens safe. I treat Bess exactly like a pet, and she mostly hangs around the house and barn area, but always accompanies the border collies and me when we go on hikes. I have a mudroom that she likes to sleep in on cold nights, but the door is always open to the outside, and she is very watchful at night, always on the alert for coyotes and fox. I give her the option to sleep in the house, but she always chooses to sleep outside or in the mudroom. She is a sweet, wonderful dog, great with children and cats, and she is a huge asset to my farm and to my life.

  7. An American in TokyoSeptember 28, 2017 at 8:07 PM

    Thank goodness!!
    I was thinking that we would no longer see Fred on the blog!!
    I'm glad that it was mostly cosmetic as well!!

    Your farm is definitely well thought out!
    I hope there is a good solution to the ducks in the future.
    Maybe get some larger birds that can defend the smaller ones?
    I think the geese around my parents' house were pretty aggressive!
    They used to chase me around quite a bit! LOL

  8. diane in northern wisSeptember 28, 2017 at 8:37 PM

    Bless your hearts. I'm so glad to hear that Fred survived his attack. I love how you keep such good watch on your animals and really try hard to keep them safe. Such a big job with so many animals to watch over. Very scary indeed. Thanks for your diligence in keeping your animals, ducks, etc. safe, because my heart always breaks when you lose somebody.


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