Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘trail cam

Brief Scare

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I didn’t get to hear about it until long after the fact yesterday, but for a moment in the morning, a chicken safety alarm was raised. Our trusty assistant, Shelby, was tending to the horses when a neighbor whom she didn’t know drove up our driveway exclaiming that a pair of wandering dogs had killed all her cats.

She suggested we protect our chickens, so Shelby ushered our three surviving birds back into their coop for the rest of the day.

When Cyndie told me this story, she said our neighbor described the dogs as a German Shepherd and a Chocolate Lab. That sounded familiar to me. A quick search of the trail cam files confirmed my suspicion.

These trouble makers were captured trespassing on our trail in the woods back in March of 2016. At the time, no harm had been done, so we didn’t bother seeking a verification of ownership.

Now, I’m thinking we might want to keep this photo handy on our phones for possible inquiries around the block. I will also look for a new vantage point from which to aim the trail cam again, in order to watch for possible new sightings of these two.

If they are still coming on our property, it troubles me a bit that they’ve been able to do it without ever being seen, beyond that time the camera caught them. With our frequent movement around the grounds every single day, it would mean they are pretty crafty in their stealth if they indeed have still been paying us visits unseen.

Even though it was just a brief scare yesterday, it has left us with a lingering feeling of unease.

Wonder if it will help to send these dogs love. If it doesn’t, I’d like to figure out a way to offer them some of Delilah’s sharp-toothed version of a greeting to discourage any future interest in choosing to cross our property lines.

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Written by johnwhays

September 1, 2017 at 6:00 am

Not Quite

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First of all, I have good news and bad news to report on Dezirea’s progress. The good news is that she is showing interest in eating and behaving much less depressed. The bad news is that she is showing very little, if any progress toward returning to normal manure production. She remains under close supervision, but we have decided on a path of minimal intervention for now.

I caught several frames of activity on the trail cam a couple of nights ago, but the best way I can describe what appeared in the series of images is, the camera captured Predator in invisible stealth mode. It was actually kinda creepy.

It doesn’t show up in a single image, but when a series of multiple images is toggled, the blur of translucent motion is detectable. One possibility is that a deer was moving too fast for the camera speed. I suspect deer because a minute later, the view picked up an extreme closeup of a fraction of the rear flank of what can only have been a deer passing directly in front of the camera.

There aren’t any other animals that size, except for maybe the Predator.

It’s not quite warm enough for the chickens to be given full access to their little courtyard, but in the days ahead, the forecast looks promising. The birds are showing great interest. Cyndie snapped a shot of two of them enjoying the view out their picture window.

Delilah seems even more anxious for them to come out than they are. Lately, there is nothing about her behavior that assures me she understands their protected status in the hierarchy of our domestic animals.

I’m pretty sure she is not quite there.

Just like Dezirea is not quite back to normal health.

We are standing by expectantly, sending love to all our critters for good health and mutual respect.

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Written by johnwhays

May 4, 2017 at 6:00 am

Safe Visitor

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The month of May arrives for the year 2017 and we are here to greet it with bells on. Well, with something on. I’m just not sure what.

On a bright side, ever since I moved the trail cam back for a wider view of the coop, the number of images captured revealing potential predators roaming around has been minimal.

Most recent, a captured image showed an appearance by a visitor we dearly love having around.

Seeing a deer wandering by seems like a message that there aren’t any scary beasts in the vicinity. How long do you think this will be the norm?

Meanwhile, this morning we reach 72 hours since Dezirea’s symptoms appeared. As of last night, she had not wavered very far either direction toward better or worse.

Cyndie and I spent a little time talking through the situation before turning in for bed. We want to remain open to whatever lesson this presents for us. We can only treat her through options within our means. Whether she recovers, or this becomes an end of life event, we must accept the outcome. We would like to achieve the peace that Dezirea is projecting.

We will continue to do everything possible to provide comfort to Dezirea while helping her get better if she can. She’s in charge of the rest..

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Written by johnwhays

May 1, 2017 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Morning Visitor

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When I moved the trail cam away from the coop to provide a better view, I also adjusted a setting so it would only capture one image per trigger. I felt that getting 400 images in one 24-hour period was a little excessive. The first day after making these changes, there were zero pictures.

The batteries had died.

I replaced the batteries and prepared for the new views.

Now I am going to reset the number of images per trigger. In the past few days, we ended up getting only a single image from each overnight span of hours. The images captured in the first two nights were simply a pair of eyes in the dark. For some reason the camera isn’t taking a second image before the visitor departs. There’s probably another setting I need to review for time between triggers.

The good news is, thus far, the predators aren’t loitering around searching for ways inside the coop.

This morning, in the minutes when the sun was beginning to appear over the horizon, the cam snapped more than just a pair of eyes. We are guessing it very well could be the same critter whose eye reflections glowed the other two nights.

Here is our first view of the fox checking out our hen house.

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Written by johnwhays

April 23, 2017 at 9:24 am

Author Captured

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Before we moved the chicks out to the coop, we had dumped some of their droppings in the manure pile and noticed how hyper it made Delilah over the scent. Thinking it might do the same thing to natural predators, we decided to move the trail-cam to monitor the pile for a few days to survey for night prowlers attracted to the new chicken smells.

The only thing we captured was the author of this blog in his natural habitat.

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Written by johnwhays

April 21, 2017 at 6:00 am

Roost Achieved

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I was all excited to check the image card after another overnight on the trail camera, but there was nothing there. I think the batteries expired. If any new prowlers showed up on the second night, we’ll never know.

In a strange result of nature, we received a quarter of an inch of rain yesterday before I got home, but the grounds looked like five-times that amount had fallen.

There’s almost nowhere to step that doesn’t turn out muddy when you move off the pavement or wood chips. Delilah jumped up on Cyndie in a fit of excitement and painted a wonderful image with her dirty paw. It’s time to pull out her kiddie pool and park it by the front door so she can wash her feet each time we enter the house.

On my way home from work yesterday, I stopped in Hudson to pick up some accessories to improve our electrical hook-up to the coop. It’s just extension cord for the time being, but at least it can be more soundly secured extension cord while it’s there.

I’m working toward properly burying a supply wire from the barn and securing it per electrical code guidelines, but the chicks needed heat much sooner than I could execute the necessary steps to wire it right the first time.

Later in the evening, when we walked down to reset the trail camera with new batteries and a cleared image card, we found one of the Rhode Island Reds had made her way up onto one of the two parallel roosts that offer the highest perch in the coop.

I have wondered whether having the roosts set right at the level of the large window would be a drawback for them, so seeing a bird on the roost was a big deal for me. I felt good that she didn’t panic or jump down when I came all the way up to the window.

I’m not confident they will be so comfortable when it is a large cat that shows up to look in on them.

If it proves to be a problem, I can easily add a board to provide increased privacy for them. While we were lingering there, one of the Buff Orpingtons joined the Red up on the roost. It won’t take long for the rest of the copy cats (chicks) to follow suit, I’m sure.

Remember, our chickens are brilliant.

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Written by johnwhays

April 19, 2017 at 6:00 am

Close Watch

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I think the trail cam was too close to the coop. It seemed to trigger upon the movement of the shadow across the front door. There were 400 images recorded over the 24 hour period! That was really only 200 triggers, because I had left the setting at 2 images per activation.

The chick(en)s were under close watch for this first day in the coop. Temperature is not controlled as much as it was in the brooder located inside the barn. As far as I can see, they are not showing any signs of discomfort or distress. Why would they? These birds have moved into a Taj Mahal of chicken coops.

Still, Cyndie is not sure we are avoiding minimal desired temperature and is checking on them regularly.

I peeked in the window after setting up the camera Sunday night.

Cyndie checked on them first thing in the morning, yesterday.

Then she stopped by several times during the day.

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Delilah even made an attempt to monitor their status on her own. Luckily, Cyndie was on the other end of the leash.

Finally, at the end of the day, the front door got opened for some adjustments and the introduction of a larger food dispenser. With little in the way of bugs to eat, the poor birds are devouring the starter granules faster than Cyndie can keep up.

That was all interesting enough, but the real winner on the trail cam was the night vision capture. It didn’t take long for us to have the first visitor make an appearance. There is no doubt in my mind that my attempts to critter-proof our coop will be well-tested.

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Let the games begin…

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Written by johnwhays

April 18, 2017 at 6:00 am