Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer

Everything likes chicken

Seems like a large part of a chicken-keeper's life is spent protecting them from everything out there.  "Tastes like chicken" isn't a cliche--it's the truth!  Everything loves chicken.

Back in August, 58 day old chicks arrived at the farm.  25 Red Star, 25 Black Star, 5 Ameracaunas, 1 "Exotic breed" and 2 extras.  I know I've lost 3 of them to who-knows-what and  2 of them to predatory hawks.  I thought I had overhead predators foiled with fence wire and surveying flags every 4-6 feet over top of the pen but I've seen hawks circling the pen on numerous occasions.  I've tried to count the baby chickens--it's really hard to cound 50+ chickens while they are milling about the pen.  The most I can count is 47 or so.  That means the hawks are winning.

So, I have to be smarter than the hawks.  I have a computer.  I found an article in an old Mother Earth News about someone who strung fishing line in a "cobweb" over the chicken coop.  A spool of 10 pound test, about 45 minutes and tripping over several curious chickens and Voila!  I hope the hawks can see fishing line.

Another recent note on the chicken predators--of the subterranean kind.  "Gopher" rats have invaded the Happy Hens complex and have undermined a lot of rock paving put in place around the coop.  Again, I inquired of the Internet how to deal with the problem and an "old time remedy" for dealing with these type of rats (without poison) is to use a mixture of cornmeal and plaster of paris.  I used 1/2 and 1/2 and poured the mix down into the holes that the rats had made.  It turns to "concrete" in their stomachs and kills them.

Religiously, every day for two weeks, I poured a handful of the cornmeal/plaster mixture into each hole the rats had made, and finally I smelled the stench of a dead rat--yay!  Since then I've smelled that smell a few times.  This is going to be an ongoing process as rats multiply continuously, AND a continuous process keeping an "eye on the sky".  Then there are the raccoons, muskrats, weasels ........

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