For those that are tired of being locked down under stay-at-home orders, our normally free-range farm birds are feeling your pain.
We’ve had a lot of predators in the area this spring, so we are having to keep them penned up for their safety. Sadly, we lost four of our older chickens to a fox (or foxes, we’re not sure), and we have one younger hen we were able to save and are trying to nurse back to health. There’s a long story behind it, of course, but I just don’t have the heart to go into it right now.
It’s not a happy time on the farm; there have been hawks hanging around as well. Last spring, we were lucky and didn’t have many issues, and I’m afraid all of us might have gotten complacent. Wildlife seems to be especially active this spring – we had this visitor to the yard as well.
Luckily, porcupines are no threat to the birds, and since Luke doesn’t run loose we don’t need to worry too much as long as it stays away from Luke’s fence. I went down to scare him away, but they are strange creatures! I got within 5 feet of him and he just kind of slowly ambled away from me (maybe that’s the only speed they go, I don’t know). I did hear him clacking his teeth a bit though so he was probably not happy with my presence. Hopefully it discourages him from returning.
Just like with our Covid19 pandemic, we don’t know just how long the birds will have to be penned up. None of these types of decisions can be made lightly. 🙁
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M. K. Clinton says
I am so sorry that the chickens are having to be “cooped up”. Those sneaky old foxes…grrr!
We have not seen the fox for a while now, so they are back on *monitored* free-ranging!
Wow, a porcupine! I haven’t seen one of those since I was a young girl. I am sorry to hear of Martha, but saw in a later post that she was recovering. I have had to give up pets that have a short life-span such as rats and guinea pigs; it is so hard for me when they pass on. I suspect it is like that with chickens, too. Giver her a hug for me!
I’ve read that chickens can live up to 10 years or so. But just like having an outdoor cat, I suspect that letting them free range brings that number down. I guess we’ll see, and keep you posted! Our oldest girls are only 3 years old now, but we’ve already lost 7 of the 12; 5 to predators and 2 to illness.
I suspect the age of 10 might be more likely in smaller flocks that are kept in more confined spaces.
Martha is still coming along, so we’re hopeful!
JoAnn Stancer says
Awe, I’m so sorry for the loss of the chickens.
Thank you, JoAnn. ♥ I know that you know how it is.
Bell Fur Zoo says
Oh no so sorry to here about the loss of some of your chickens :'( I think all this stay at home mess is making everyone a bit stir crazy.
Jenny @ Bell Fur Zoo
These are crazy times, and add into it the lousy weather we’ve been having, and it’s been tough to keep on top of everything going on. 🙁
Tails Around the Ranch says
Lockdown seems safer for us all. I hope there are no more porcupine sightings. Although porcupines are herbivores, they do like wood, bark and stems and also eat nuts, tubers, seeds, grass, leaves, fruit and buds and will use bones to obtain minerals (i.e. salt) and calcium. Here’s to safe days!
We had a close call with Luke and the porcupine, but all is OK! We have not seen him since…will be sharing the story on that when I am able to breathe again! 🙂
Oh no. I am so sorry about the chickens you lost. I know how you love each one and know each one so well. Hugs to you.
I hope that the predators go away. Now.
Thank you so much. Things seem to have settled down now….all fingers, paws, and claws crossed here! I’ll have a hopefully good update soon. 🙂
Awww, so sorry that you lost some of your beloved hens to hungry wild life.
Hope Martha will heal up completely. Ya gotta eat gal, pawlease do it!
We do not have porcupines here…at least I don’t think we do.skunks, foxes, coyotes, hawks, for sure…coons and possoms too. I think coons would even raid a hen house if it wasn’t sturdy enough. They killed several of our neighbor’s hens when they had them.
Yes, we’ve had coons around the coop too and we discourage them. The nighttime coop is pretty secure though.
One of my blog friends lost all of her flock to coons I think.
Oh, we had skunk stuck inside the chicken’s run one morning (birds were still in the coop), hubby was at work and I had to figure out how to get it out of there (it finally left). LOL
Ellen Pilch says
I am so sorry you lost some of your birds to a fox. That is so sad.
Thank you, Ellen.
The Island Cats says
It’s that time of year…better to be safe than sorry with your hens.
We were lucky last spring, and I’m afraid that might have made us complacent. Lesson learned. 🙁
LLB in Our Backyard says
I’m so sorry to hear about your hens…sending positive thoughts to Mama Martha!
Your thoughts are working!
Susan from Bucks County Pennsylvania says
I am so sorry for the loss of the chickens. I know they are part of your family too. We have fox in the area, but we are rural and they have plenty of mice to eat!
Any news on your shop?
Sending healing vibes to Martha.
Hopefully you saw the shop news since this!
Thank you. Martha is making progress. We have tons of mice, chipmunks, and squirrels around here, but I guess foxes are opportunists and we made it too easy for them. 🙁
The circle of life, but we don’t like it when our critters are part of their food chain.
Tell Luke to stay away from that porcupine. I know he knows that.
Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.
Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. Hug to you and smooches to Luke. ♥
We had a close call with that porcupine, but Luke was SUCH a good boy and all is fine! We’ll tell the story when things settle down here. 🙂
Luke sends smooches and says he knows you miss him. ♥
Ducky's Mom says
Oh No!! I’m so sorry about the chickens!!! 💔💔💔 I do hope Martha will recover soon!! Poor dear girl!!! Sending her much love and healing energy!! And sending YOU much love and peace as well! 💜💜
Ducky sends Luke puppy kisses 😘😘
Thank you! Martha is coming along. She’s not been an easy patient though!!
Brian Frum says
That’s so sad about your chickens and I hope they keep safe, it’s got to be scary for you all. Our Dad would be out on a fox hunt.
Your Dad and ours are exactly alike. 🙂
We are so sorry to hear about your beautiful chickens and we are crossing fingers and paws that Mama Martha gets better soon. Be careful, Luke. We hear porcupine quills are horrible.
We hear the same and do not want to find out about that! We haven’t seen that porcupine for a few days now. There’s a story behind that which we’ll share soon!
Edith Chase says
I’m sorry for your losses. Sending healing thoughts to Mama Martha. Porcupines are like beavers, I guess they gnaw on wood. Plus the obvious danger to dogs. I hope he doesn’t stick around.
Thank you, Edie. That darn porcupine came back that same afternoon and every day after for a few. But now he finally seems to be gone, possibly thanks to our guinea hens! We’ll tell the whole story soon.
we have too much wild boars this time, because of the jailed people they come into the villages now… also the foxes and other little rascals… we really hope next monday brings good news for all of us…
I don’t know much about boars, but they don’t seem like a good thing to have around!
Mom is having a tough time battling all the challenges this mess is making. Someone sucked the fun out of life for now and we are not liking it much. So sorry about the chickens. That is just terrible!
Thank you. Your Mom is so right about all of this. I’m ready to be done with it, as I’m sure everyone is.
It’s simply a great big pain. I try to just be grateful we’re healthy, but it’s difficult to not be tired of all the inconveniences.
Eric and Flynn photos blog says
We have seen a lot more foxes lately as well. I think it is because of the lockdown the restaurants and fast food places are shut, so the waste food is not around and they are moving back to the country from the towns and villages.I know they will travel 5 miles looking for food and we have McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut etc. within that distance.
We live in a rural area so I’m not sure that’s the case here; though with what you say about 5 miles, then maybe it is a factor.