Monday, June 4, 2012

The Circle of Life

This spring has been quite a learning experience for my wife and I in the art of chicken predation prevention.  We've had a fox visit our yard twice and a raccoon once under the cloak of darkness in the wee hours of the morning.  It was a rough couple of weeks with numerous days of interrupted sleep, with each morning beginning the same... waking up to predator screams and chicken calls.  Thankfully though our electric poultry fence held strong, separating predator and prey.  Even a hawk attempt was foiled, which left the score predators 0 in 4 attempts.

That first hawk attempt was magnificent despite its intentions when you consider the power and stealthiness of this formidable raptor.  Somehow though with its intense focus and determination to feed, it failed to see the poultry netting and wound up a tangled mess.  You can imagine our surprise coming home one evening to find a hawk caught up and hanging upside down in the fence.  We held no ill will towards our unwanted guest though, and carefully untangled it and brought it to the bird sanctuary not too far from our house. 

Hawk attempt number two however did not end as well for our flock.  Although the attack was interrupted as my wife ran to the aid of the chickens and their distressed calls, it was not a battle without casualty.  One of our original four birds "Crooked" had made her last stand as she bravely stood alerting the others of the danger.  Or that's how we would like to believe it went down...

Appropriately named, she was one of the original four that we acquired with our coop and was a perfect example of the misguided farming practice of clipping the beaks.  Despite this inhumane practice and handicap, it's amazing how efficient a forager/hunter they still are.

Now we don't make it a habit of naming each member of our flock.  I think of our (human-chicken) relationship more as symbiotic one, each depending on the other for something.  They allow us to keep them contained and eat their eggs, and we offer them our yard and all of the food (worms, bugs, grass, berries...) they can forage and sunlight they can soak up in the process.  I like to believe we give them the best lives they could have as a domesticated farm animal, that is until their time has come to an end even if it's prematurely.

In the end she became food for the very yard she called home, giving back to the earth with interest feeding the countless worms and microorganisms that are so vital to any organic pasture.

1 comment:

  1. We've been thinking about a chicken coop. Sounds like a very interesting experience for the two of you :)


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