Sunny Hill Farm

  (Washougal, Washington)
Organic Free Range Eggs
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Survival of the Fittest

One of the benefits to living in the country on 10 acres is the opportunity to raise free range chickens. One of the drawbacks is the continual battle of night time predators. We make sure the chickens have a safe haven they can nestle into once dusk is upon us; nevertheless, there always seem to be one or two chickens who stumble out of their bed in midst of a little fresh air or smoke break when low and behold they are attacked and invited to dinner. Little did they know they actually became dinner!

One of the interesting things I have learned during my predator dilemma is that I am now able to determine who preyed upon my chickens based on the carcass that was left behind. If it is an owl, they will bite off the chickens head, slice it open and eat the liver and the heart while leaving the rest behind. I guess I never realized that owls were so violent.  If it is a cat-like predator (ie:Lynx) they tend to eat most of the internal organs and leave the wings behind. Coyotes on the other hand, well they take the whole damn thing, leaving a couple tufts of feathers behind from the initial struggle.

I think one of my biggest frustrations is that there is not a lot I can do to battle against these predators as the owls are protected by the federal government and they seem to be the biggest nuisance at the moment.

I do take great care in my chickens; however I think inviting 150 of them in to our home each evening may put a strain on our marriage.


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