Friday, August 8, 2008

One Down

It has been a busy week for us, we have had several things going on, I haven't had much time to blog. Biscuit, our yearling leopard filly did go to live at her new home in Texas on Tuesday.

Sometime on Wednesday, one of my Barred Rock Chicks disappeared. I saw her early in the day but later in the afternoon she was gone. I think that several of my banty chicks are roosters and whoever is taking these chickens must just prefer hens. Here is a picture of some of my banty chicks challenging each other, they are probably roosters, I can't tell yet. But we knew that both of my Barred Rock chicks were hens.

Yesterday morning while I was outside, I noticed something was off. I couldn't put my finger on it at first but then it dawned on me that I could hear nothing but silence. All of my chickens were hiding and not making a sound. Usually they are a pretty noisy bunch, so I started looking around.

There were two small hawks flying around overhead. Normally I know when there are hawks about because the crows are constantly calling them names and trying to run them out of their air space. The crows were away from the post for some reason, leaving my chickens unprotected. I got my camera and took a picture of one of them. They finally gave up the hunt and flew away.

Later in the day, I noticed that the chickens were still quiet, so I looked around again and didn't see anything, but it gave me a strange feeling every time I went outside.

I had taken my glasses off to fix my hair, I went into the bedroom for something and passed by the window. I saw what I thought was one of my Rhode Island Reds on the far side of the goat lot. With my glasses off I couldn't tell what it was for sure but I have never seen my chickens in that area. I got my glasses and looked again, it was a fox, he was just relaxing, scratching and rolling in the new mowed grass.

I grabbed up my rifle and slipped out the door. It was a long shot for a rifle but I embarrassed myself again anyhow. He jumped away from the spot where the bullet hit the ground beyond him. The sound of the rifle didn't scare him because I have desensitized him to gunfire because I have shot at him so many times and missed. He walked away a few feet then stopped in the driveway and looked back at the place he had been, he was closer to me now and a much better shot. I missed again and he went into the high weeds.

I knew that he would circle around the barn/house and all I had to do was wait on him, so I went into the house and got a different rifle. Maybe it was the rifle and not me, right? I watched the goats who were watching him, so I knew right where he was. I stood inside the back door of the barn and waited for another perfect shot. But something went wrong, while I was waiting with a clear view of where he would have to come down the hill, he was already there. I was a bit confused but I had a good shot, so I took it. I missed again and again he jumped away from the spot I hit and came towards me. I had another perfect shot and of course I missed again.

Four missed shots in one day. How could I live with myself? The shame of it all. I went to Camp Meeting last night and when I returned home, he was sitting on top of a row of big round bales of hay that are sitting beside our driveway. He looked at me and laughed. I drove down the hill to get my gun and try again but he was gone when I got back.

I wouldn't have minded him so bad if he would have taken roosters instead of my hens. But this morning when I went to get Cooter out of his pen to stake him out. Angel started barking at something at the top of the hill. I looked up there and saw two foxes chasing each other and playing. I yelled for my DH and gave him a chance to deal with the problem. Though it is hard for me to admit, he got one of them with his first shot. I will never live this down.

I did find out why I was confused about the fox's location the day before, there were two of them. I am sure that we will have to deal with the other one at some point. They seem to love this place. Since we got Angel we hardly ever see or hear Coyotes but we always have skunks and foxes. They know now that she can't get out of the goat lot, so they are safe from her. They also know that I can't hit the broad side of a barn, so they are also safe from me.

There are two wild turkey hens with chicks staying here also. I don't know why the foxes prefer my chickens to the turkey chicks, maybe they are harder to catch or the turkey hens are meaner than my roosters.

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