Tag Archives: chicken predators

Lesson 1298 – Lone attack survivor

Our lone survivor of the hen house attack is doing better. That first night when I retrieved her from under the hen house, she was thoroughly terrorized. Chickens that have been attacked tend to go into a kind of chicken-shock – those are the ones that you sometimes find the next morning dead from a heart attack. They are literally scared to death.

My chicken couldn’t move her legs and I thought it very likely that she might have some spinal damage. It didn’t look good but she was breathing and there didn’t appear to be any bleeding so I put her on bedding with some water nearby and waited to see how she would be in the morning.

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What I have found with chickens that have been severely injured, is if they make it through the first night, then they usually have a fairly good chance at recovery.

She made it through the first night. Continue reading

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Lesson 1297 – Attack in the hen house

It’s a horrible sound, that of a flock in panic – at night. I rushed outside to see what was up and with the help of my tiny LED flashlight (always kept on the fridge with a magnet for quick use), I saw that I was too late.

Something had gotten into the henhouse.

A sight all chicken owners hate to see.

A sight all chicken owners hate to see.

All 3 of this year’s chicks (now adolescents) were dead.

One of last years’ chicks was greatly injured (we thought she was dead until Spencer saw her trying to breathe.) She’s currently receiving Chick-ICU treatment. Last night I wasn’t sure she would make this, this morning she’s doing better but she can’t walk. Not sure if that is due to an injury or shock. I’ll be keeping an eye on her.

I’m sick. Just sick. You know that expression about how easy it is to shoot sitting ducks? Well when *something* attacks from within the hen house (and we have no idea what is was but our local fisher cat comes to mind), there is no place to go. The chickens get picked off one by one.

And the babies, who knew the least, were the ones who suffered the most. Continue reading

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Lesson 1176 – Life from hardship

We’ve had snow and now we don’t – for the most part. (But there was a lot of snow when I drove to Vermont yesterday so it’s not far away.)

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Vermont yesterday

Soon after we had our falcon attack this past fall, I rolled our used Halloween pumpkin under a bush the juvies had started to huddle beneath each day as a way to hide from the neighborhood predator. I figured, under the bush, they could peck at it in leisure and safety.

That falcon really changed the behavior of our flock, it’s rare to see any member randomly roaming the yard anymore, they all either hover near an overhang or hide under a bush and won’t dare come out unless a human caretaker is present.

Which means that the pumpkin, which was whole (we just stuck arms and legs into it) has seen much action. This is all that currently remains of our Halloween pumpkin:

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Heavy snow is in the forecast for this weekend. The flock doesn’t like being out on ice and so days (upon days) of being cooped up loom in the immediate future. With the snows, the remains of the pumpkin will become mush, eventually returning its nutrients to the ground.

Who knows, perhaps after the thaw a seed will take root – the start of a new pumpkin – reminding us all that life can spring from hardship – even when evils like falcons abound.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1173 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

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Remember that most fairy tales were written by men – Jaime Morrison Curtis

As I go through the stores this holiday season, I can’t help but notice all things Frozen. Frozen toys, dinnerware, clothing, bedding, and even earmuffs. All I can say is “Thank God my girls are older.”

Don’t get me wrong, I saw Frozen and I, along with the rest of the world, loved the music (although to be honest, I am *very* tired of “Let it Go”), but here’s the thing – news flash, fairy tale princesses do not reflect reality.

For example, the ice princess becomes provocatively sexy once she comes into her power (watch the video clip of Let it Go and you’ll see what I mean, apparently one develops a svelte figure and an incredible cat walk once you come into your own.)

And the other princess gets rescued by a boy (even though until that point, she had looked like an earnest, although a bit ditzy, heroine.) Continue reading

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Lesson 1168 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

 I’ll fix it up there, then I’ll bring it back here. Grinch

 

 

I know that I already put a post up for the day but I wanted to end the week as I always do, with a round-up of what’s happened and what’s to come.

What’s happened:

I didn’t make the NaNoWriMo goal this year (I don’t blame my time management skills, I blame the storm that knocked out electricity for 3 days) but in thinking about my writing, I designed a few projects to move forward on. I wrote about it on the New Hampshire Writers Network blog.

Marc has been out of town, (which is part of the reason why a recipe post went up this morning instead of this one – who can keep track of the days when you are chauffeuring, cooking, and managing for an army of kids?) He returns tonight. Hopefully by the time he gets home, we can get the Christmas tree looking a little better.

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(that beer can is actually a Budweiser ornament from the Bud brewing plant in our town.)

Last weekend we were able to get the kids’ annual photo with Santa. If we did nothing else this holiday season, I’d be happy with just this.

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Heads up: When I took Trevor back to college in Vermont last Sunday, I stopped by the King Arthur Flour store. I don’t know if they sell it in retail stores, but their Gingerbread Scones mix is out of this world. While baking, they made the entire house smell like Christmas. The scones have a deep, adult ginger taste and were even filled with tiny bits of crystallized ginger. I don’t know if these are only out for the holidays, but if you can find them, give them a try – you won’t be sorry.

This weekend, I’ll be making the King Arthur Pecan shortbread bars (I was supposed to make them for Thanksgiving but our lack of electricity forced me into other plans.)
What’s coming:

Although I’m loving the win-win-win recipe posts, don’t worry, chickens are coming back. Next week in addition to a few recipe posts, I’ll post some answers to questions people have recently asked about chickens.

I’ll show you some chicken cup warmers that a friend’s aunt made for her church fundraiser. ADORABLE!

And I’ll also put up some holiday posts – because ‘tis the season.

Until then, enjoy – Be safe, I’ll see you all next week.

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1161 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

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While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best. Tom Allen

It’s Friday and I’m doing a bit of a happy dance because in a few hours I’ll be driving up to Vermont to bring one of our chicks home for the holidays. He hasn’t been home since he left for school in August so I’m sure this will be a week of eating tons of home cooked meals, connecting with his siblings (we have a new wii video game in the house), and spending time in the laundry room trying to locate some of his winter clothing.

Aaaaaaand, as long as I’m up in Vermont, I might as well stop in at the King Arthur Flour store – um, just to take a look around. I’ve written about it before and I’m sure I’ll write more (maybe even next week) but King Arthur is an adult candy story. I’ll take one of everything.

Although we haven’t had any snow (which is just fine with me) in New Hampshire, the temps have dropped below freezing in the mornings and evenings. For all of us, hats and mittens have been taken out of storage and I’ve personally re-connected with my beloved fingerless gloves which will probably be staying on my hands until the Spring thaw.

With regard to the chickens, they are still free ranging (that usually stops when the snow comes) but we’ve had to plug in the water heater so they can get something to drink. As long as they are free ranging, I won’t be adding supplements to their food, but once the snow comes, we’ll be giving them seed blocks and two suet blocks (27 birds) every other week.

There’s no denying it anymore, winter is coming.

A few notes: Continue reading

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Lesson 1156 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

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Goodbye friend.

There are many things that will definitely get a mom’s attention. “She’s choking” is one, “He’s bleeding” is another and yesterday it was “Mom, there’s a big bird attacking a chicken.”

And I had just written about birds of prey in our neighborhood.

I ran from my desk to the backyard to see a large bird (larger than a hawk, smaller than an eagle, my guess is still falcon) pulling meat from something on the ground. Other than that terrible bird, there were no other chickens in sight. Continue reading

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Lesson 1139 – A matter of time

 I finally caught up with our neighbors on the *other* side of our property. As the juveniles (delinquents) get braver and braver, they roam further and further from home, right into, you’ve guessed it, our neighbor’s property where they’ve found a wide open grass lawn just ready for yummy insect picking.I’ve tried. I’ve really tried to keep these hoodlums from their property but just like human teens, as soon as you designate something as forbidden, the kids will test you on it. Say no and they are on top of it – see you later.

Sure enough, my young flock has passed the natural boundary of the woods and is fully into the green, green grasslands on the other side.

I apologized. “I’m so sorry,” I told our neighbor. “We shoo the birds back whenever we see them nearing your property.”

“No problem at all,” she told me. “Your chickens can eat all the bugs and ticks from our lawn that they want.” This is another neighbor that has not seen a tick on any of her outdoor cats this summer. She enjoys our chickens and looks forward to seeing them scratching in her yard.

Do you know what a difference it makes when your neighbors accept your flock? (and yes, our neighbors will be getting eggs as soon as the brats start laying)

She did warn me about the large female falcon she has seen in her yard (and which she blames for the death of one of her cats.) I’ve seen the falcon twice in our yard, and my flock (even the obnoxious juveniles) knows to take heed (they all rush to hide under bushes or low hanging areas.) Our neighbor also warned me about a large fox that she has seen pacing our property line.

I know it’s just a matter of time. As I tell people in my chicken classes, if you make the decision to free-range your chickens, you make the decision to lose a few to predators. As long as you understand that, all is well.

Because I’m one who likes to have her cake and eat it too, I physically get up from my desk and check on the chickens several times a day, thinking that maybe I can keep them from harm. But I’m also a bit of a realist. Roving chickens are targets.

And I know it’s just a matter of time.

Continue reading

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Lesson 560 – When you wish upon a star

This is the back of our henhouse. Notice the trees. Our property is surrounded by lots of woods.

Which makes me a little concerned because in our town we have daily sightings of a mama bear and her two cubs.

When I teach chicken workshops, I tell people that the best way they can spend their money is to get a secure henhouse. Don’t fool yourself into thinking those little prefab ones at the Tractor Supply (I like to call them “Tinker-toy coops”) are going to protect your flock.

They aren’t. Your chickens would be gone in a heartbeat.

Our coop is built to housing standards and all three doors close with a lock.

Here is nesting box door. Continue reading

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