Archive | December 2013

Terror in the Chicken Yard!

Eb and Prince CharmingGirls in the alleyLacey and CalNew blockOwl overlookPrince Carming
Roos and hensrustyYardfull of roos

Too many Roosters, a set on Flickr.

The past few weeks here have been horrible! Our chickens have been terrorized daily by Red Tail Hawks and Sharp Shinned Hawks. We’ve lost 5 out of 6 baby chicks to them. See, I told you, its been horrible. The chicks squeeze through the fence, we added additional smaller fence, they still managed to get out, one time though the hawk got in, we have fishing line strung across the yard, which has worked for the past 2 years, but not this year. So, we added netting. There are just so many hawks and looks like their food is getting low and of course chickens are an easy meal. We haven’t seen any rabbits around any more nor do we see any ground hogs, we use to be loaded with both. One morning I went out to let the chickens open the hen house and a Red Tail was sitting in a tree by the chicken yard eyeing my cat! Anyway, we’ve now added fabric block to the lower fence area, which will help block wind for the girls too. Our plastic owl that we move around the yard regularly isn’t doing his job either.
So, how’s your flock this winter?? Any problems with predators? What are you doing to keep predators away?? Our girls won’t even free range, my hubby opens the gate and they stay in. In the photos you can see some of my girls in the little alley way between the hen house and the shed, its fenced in with the chicken yard, they hang in there allot anymore, and of course they’re staying in the hen house allot.  I have to tell you, I’m very close to giving up on having backyard chickens.  If the new netting and fabric doesn’t work and the terror continues, I will have to rehome them all.  They’re not laying hardly at all, I know some hens are old and hardly laying, and with winter they’ve cut back, but we’re only getting 4 eggs a day out of 16 layers??
Back in July I posted about Goldie going broody and added a link for choosing the right eggs to produce females or cockerels, well as stated in that post I tried to hand pick my eggs(Finally, We Have a Broody Hen). The results are in, it doesn’t work! Out of 2 broods of chicks, 11 chicks total I think we have 6 roosters! So this weekend we will be rehoming some of them as well as a couple of our older hens and Buddy.
Buddy hasn’t been the same since Reds and Buddy had their big rooster challenge, where Buddy lost. If you read my post I Just Can’t Believe It!, followed by Update on Buddy, then Everythings Back to Normal in Buddy’s Flock, the new normal for Buddy isn’t the same. He’s not the Buddy he was before the challenge. He doesn’t take care of the hens the way he use to, he doesn’t let them eat first, he doesn’t stand his ground with predators, he’s actually the first one back to the hen house. He does alert, but he’s just not the man he use to be. So he will be rehomed and one of the young roos will have to take over. We are going to rehome a few of the new roos but I will keep probably 3 for the time being. I will keep Prince Charming, Eb and either Rusty or Cal, haven’t decided yet, so stay tuned.