We went out to do morning chores earlier this week and were devastated to find young chicken bodies scattered from front yard to barn yard to garden. There were 7 in all and my favorite chicken, Izzy, is missing along with two turkeys and a few other hens. Izzy breaks my heart. No feathers…just gone. Don’t know why she was my favorite but she was…

Elijah and I puzzled at what could have done this…no one was eaten which makes me even madder – something did this for sport!  We wondered about our neighbors dogs but they have never been a problem. There were no wounds really except one puncture – probably from a tooth.  We lose an occasional hen to a family of Red Tailed Hawks that live on our mountain.  Maybe 1 or 2 a year when they are feeding and raising babies.  But this was slaughter!  These girls were in a temporary coop, up on a roost but something got in there.

So, we left the bodies just as you see them and loaded some trail cameras and trained them on the coop and barnyard in the hope that the bodies might lure it back.

Next day…low and behold…we had our answer!

It was a young coyote!  In over 20 years here on the farm, I’ve only seen one get this close to the house and that was a long time ago.  This one is pretty bold! Half of the bodies were gone so we don’t know if they were carried off to other members of the pack or eaten by this one.

So what are we doing?  Girls are going from temporary coop into the “big house” where they will be safe from all predators.  Electric fence was ordered, arrived today and will be going around the big coop tomorrow.  We will use it to let them free range in a large area – and we can move it as necessary. They won’t be able to get out and nothing can get in. We’ll work on the small coop to secure it better before we use it again.

And me? I’ve ordered a holster.  I went out the other night to close up the coop and my light was reflecting on eyes at the corner of the field.  Don’t know if it was this one or not…but it had to be either a fox or coyote.  Both need to find another feeding ground and I need to protect my girls. I may not have time to run back to the house for my gun.

The homestead life brings you self-sufficiency, independence, satisfaction…it’s  hard, fulfilling, glorious, breathtaking and even fun!  It is also heart breaking, tons of hard work that never gets done, and frustrating at times.

I wouldn’t live any other way for all the money in the world!

Are you up for it?

Blessings,

Cheri