Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Yesterday morning, as I was walking by a window, I saw and heard a great commotion with our chickens. Wings were flapping and the birds were sending out a clear distress signal.
I saw a massive bird on the ground attacking one of our birds.
Oh no! I ran outside and was able to scare what turned out to be an adult red-tailed hawk into flight. Although there were chicken feathers all over the ground, that hawk was not able to grab a chicken. (But he sure tried his hardest.)
This is what you call a near miss.
It took me close to an hour to round up the flock and replace them into the coop. Even the most timid ones allowed me to pick them up and coo my reassurance. Those girls were scared!
So, not only do we have our neighborhood peregrine falcons, but now the red-tails are back. I wasn’t kidding when I had said that it looked like our yard was turning into an all-night diner.
Which all means we have to do something very soon to save our chickens.
I’ve seen those “chicken tunnels” all over the internet recently and while they may look like a good idea, it’s not for us for several reasons:
- I don’t want our yard to look like a Chuck E. Cheese with all those “kiddy” tunnels
- I have some larger birds and our tunnels would need to be taller than a sheet of chicken wire bent over.
- But most importantly, for us, we need a place where our chickens can immediately go to for protection. I don’t want them all having to scurry for one entrance.
What we’ve decided to do is build low platforms using lumber and chicken wire. Very easy – we’re essentially going to build a frame and then staple the wire on top leaving the sides open. Using our best camo-skills we’ll then cover the top with leaves and brush.
I’m not quite sure of the size yet, but we’re planning on having three “panic room” strategically placed in our yard. One near the coop entrance, one in the penned in dog area and one near the back corner of our property. If the locations aren’t the best, we’ll just pick them up and move them. I’m hoping that this solution will give our chickens a bit of a fighting chance against our neighborhood bullies.
I’ll keep you posted.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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