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July 07, 2019

EMT 7/6/19 The Silence of the Hens Part II

Thanks for all the advice in the comments yesterday.

We had a good run of several months with no problems aside from an early hawk strike we managed to chase off before the kill. Then the chickens appear to have outgrown the hawks.

We'd been leaving the coop open at night. Mistake I guess, but I was being a little lazy, and between the rigors of raising an infant and a 5 yr old, and my work schedule, we were accepting the risk. Then about 5 days ago we lost our first one during the night. Started closing the coop at night. July 3rd, I got home after dark, and we'd lost another. Then yesterday we lost one in the late afternoon, so it's not an exclusively night critter unfortunately, which basically makes setting traps a bit counterproductive.

I thought all the foxes in the area had been killed as we hadn't seen any in a year, but D Sabot's comment about the kill pattern suggest it may just be a fox.

We have coyotes roaming the area, but the trail led to a fence that had been wriggled under. It's only a nylon fence, and that point is pretty taut, so I would imagine a coyote likely would have broken it when getting under.

I tracked to the defeathering pile about 50' inside the woodline, which is itself only about 25' from the fence. There was a lot of blood soaked in there, but it also smelled of decay, which I would guess is from the first kill several days ago. I suspect a den nearby, but I was getting eaten alive by the effin Aedes mosquitoes that are the bain of my existence, so I skedaddled.

Spent today building up that corner (useless I know, but had some deadwood to use so did it), and setting up a range extender I had in my closet with an IR webcam.

Shotty is by the back door ready to go if I happen to witness the raider in action.

Going to put up solar powered electric line, a few strands. Figure at maybe 4, 16 and 34 inches, which should deter any insistent deer as well.

With luck, next week I'll have some success to report.

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posted by krakatoa at 06:06 AM

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