Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Being Stalked

with 4 comments

She’s all alone, but not alone. Our sole survivor from last year’s brood, this amazing Buff Orpington, has finally ended her non-stop calling for her two most recent missing companions.

She has avoided death on multiple occasions, once even getting bloodied from a too close encounter within Delilah’s jaws. Now, left to fend for herself alone on the roost in single-digit cold overnight temperatures, she seems to be doing her best to tough out her rather dire situation.

The hungry spring predators appear to be stalking with unprecedented boldness. Based on our experience the last five years, the number of roaming tracks in the snow during daylight hours has picked up significantly.

Yesterday, every time we turned around there were fresh tracks showing up in areas we had recently walked, and they weren’t all the same. I would guess a dog or coyote, probably a cat, and definitely that troublesome fox.

I pulled the memory card from the trail camera, only to find the sly critter had completely avoided detection. Based on her travel pattern, I have relocated the camera, pointing it off the trail into the woods where I hope to catch her looking more into the view, as opposed to walking across it. This will also reduce the repeating shots of Delilah and us walking the trail that tends to clutter the results.

If you look at the shot of the fox I posted the other day, she was leaving our property with nothing in her mouth. Following yesterday’s tracks led us to two different spots where a large number of feathers revealed locations where the future meals had been stashed.

Cyndie wondered about putting extra effort to protect the buff against the obvious stalkers, and as a result, we did end up coercing her back into the coop early in the afternoon. One way I look at the possible inevitability of her fate is that it would save us needing to convince the year-old chicken to accept the twelve new chicks (now looking a lot like “tweens”) that will soon be moving to the coop.

By the time the next brood makes it to the free-ranging stage of life, the phase of ravenous spring predation will have calmed to the occasional massacre by some roving set of fangs like we suffered last June. Then we’ll find out which of our new birds are as cunning and lucky as the Barred Plymouth Rocks and our lone Buff Orpington were.

It’s no wonder why free-range birds are so precious.

It’s a jungle out there. So to speak.

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Written by johnwhays

April 7, 2018 at 10:04 am

4 Responses

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  1. Well, our hens are protected to a large extent by a rooster who is ever vigilant and gives early warning of predators and possible courses of action, one of which is of informing me to come to the rescue.

    Ian Rowcliffe

    April 8, 2018 at 3:23 am

    • Yes, we do know the option of having a rooster. Avoiding that solution for now in favor of having our flock be totally accessible to friendly visitors, at the expense of risking exposure to unfriendlies.

      johnwhays

      April 8, 2018 at 11:05 am

  2. I leave mine in the coop for a few days so the visitors end up disappointed and hopefully move on. I don’t know if this really helps, but it makes me feel like I’ve “at least done SOMETHING”…lol.

    Liz

    April 7, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    • Absolutely. We have done that ourselves at times. I know that feeling of “Do something!”

      johnwhays

      April 8, 2018 at 11:03 am


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