first time…

We reached a milestone in our farming career. A right of passage if you will. We had our first predator attack. I wish that it was as romantic as it sounds. Coyotes howling at the moon before they slink to our lonely homestead, standing forlornly in a perfect puddle of light from the full moon in the middle of the desert. Yeah. No. Our neighbor thinks it was a pack of rogue shih tzus.

It wouldn’t even be so bad if we could say, “Ok! lesson learned, never again.” Yeah. No. First attack was two Sundays ago, and then today I left the gate open and we lost more. As much as I hate Facebook, it is an awesome forum for playing the pity card. So much sympathy came my way, it was kind cathartic to be pissed off and have people care and commiserate. Now I just feel stupid that it happened again. This attack was not as bad of course, but then again we had a lot fewer birds to start with. I won’t bore you with the details of what we lost. Rather I’ll just say that I’m so impressed by the amount of ick that my husband has dealt with. There really isn’t anything as masculine as a man who gets choked up when he has to put a rooster out of it’s misery because it has a broken neck and can’t move. Weird, I know, because this same man has now killed four roosters on purpose and dressed them out for dinner. It’s different when there is mindless suffering involved. Also, so it is very clear why the only pictures in this post are of cute baby chicks, he had to remove a bird from the coop that died from a maggot infestation (result of flies on open wounds) so bad the birds body stopped functioning. I married such good stuff.

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New babies, courtesy of a friend who wanted to hatch eggs as a homeschool project. She had way better success than we ever had, and all four eggs I gave her hatched. They came back to us so they can go in their own coop and grow enough for us to sort out how many are hens and how many are roosters. We are pretty sure at least one, more likely two, are roosters. And if they are as handsome as their sire, I’m going to keep them.

The plan for moving forward is this: clean out coops and runs, go this weekend and get 12 or so fluffy, yellow Leghorn chicks, and start over. Any birds that survive the dog attacks and my stupidity in leaving the gate open, will move in with the goats and our other mutts. Here’s to lessons learned (hopefully) and starting over with new babies right in time for Easter!

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