I guess I jinxed myself. I do tempt fate, as it were, but I think that is standard operating procedure for anyone who tries to make a living growing food. We got into a new market that is willing to take our eggs.
Just in time, coincidentally, for the layers to slow down production in keeping with the loss of day light hours. We thought we could deliver about ten dozen a week. They originally asked for one hundred and twenty, so I had to temper expectations on one hand, while at the same time, plan for expansion in the other.
Then the layers dropped down to about five eggs a day, about the same time we started losing birds to a hawk. Coadee was outside but we still lost them. We started putting her on a lead by her house. But that was not happening all the time and I got lazy about making her stay around the chickens. The other problem was we lost Floppy. She was the oldest layer and was the one that would warn the others when danger was in the air.
I got to the point, with Coadee, were I would put bailing twine under her collar and attach the other end to a pole outside of her house. All she has to do is walk away and the rope would come out from under her collar. The thought was she would stay until an intrusion. Which she actually does, except, this practice was not a daily ritual. So when a hawk landed on a barren tree outside of the chicken pen, Coadee was not around to distract and run it off and Floppy was not there to screach.
Today, I just happen to go outside, Coadee comes around the house and we head to the pen. I wanted to close the door of the chicken house to keep heat in the house. I climbed over the electric fence and saw a grey hawk on top of what I presumed to be a dead layer. I immediately started throwing things at the bird. None of which seem to phase it. I throw a rod, chicken wire, wood blocks (2) and an orange peg. The only thing that scared it off was a large block of wood used as a chock for the wheel on the chicken trailer.
It flew into the trees near its catch. I went to the house to retrieve my gun. The dog for some reason was aware but was not barking or trying to distract the bird. I do not think she knew really what was going on, or I was too distracted with the task at hand but she was not the dog I had seen before.
I returned with the rifle saw the bird in the tree and aimed at the bottom of the tree. I fired, it flew to another tree, I fired it flew further away; I just kept that up until it was gone. Hawks are a federally protected species as well as it being illegal in the state of Maryland to kill a hawk so I did the next best thing.
I then turned my attention to the layer. I picked her up, took her over to the compost pile and correctly composted her. With each and every one we thank them and return them to the earth that nourished them so that they can in turn nourish the earth. It makes me feel humane, in light of my failure to provide a safe humane existence for my charge. You learn when growing food that things happen.
Buy Local: Make sure your farmer is real, there are imposters.