When tragedy strikes on the homestead, you don’t really get the option to just give up. You still have animals relying on you for their everyday needs. After we lost 10 of our 16 chickens to a bobcat this last friday morning, we knew we needed to make a some big changes in order to protect our survivors and all other future livestock. So we came up with a 5 point plan, a few of which we’ve already started.
1. We have already called the game warden to become aware of our rights in protecting our livestock- First and foremost we have to prove knowledge of what animal we are dealing with. If it was a bobcat, we’re free and clear to shoot to kill if we have to. If its a lynx, we’re looking at trapping and rehoming somewhere VERY far away. This leads directly to-
2. Setting up cameras and motion detector lights to monitor and record all activity. Also, possibly going a bit overboard and buying a new 32 inch tv to watch monitors at all times. And hooking the cameras to our iphone to watch when away as well. BUT we’ve already caught a fox and possibly the bobcat both sniffing around again. It was at night while we were asleep, and the girls were locked up, but STILL.
3. Clean .22 rifle, bb rifle and air rifles- buy ammunition and have mrgillis teach me how to shoot – this is mostly for trying to scare the damn things away first. But if that should fail, we have to protect our animal family. Also, make sure said guns are in safe place, but easily accessible. We have a wall mounted rack on its way.
4. Check out chain link fencing with roof capabilities – find scrap tin roofing and buy clear pvc sheets from Amish. Construct superfence come this spring when the ground is thawed – dig foot deep/6 inch wide trench to lay welded wire in to create below ground barrier, then attach welded wire fence to chain link sections. Put on frame for a roof, do one half of roof in tin and other half in clear pvc sheets so the girls can get some sun or shade when they need it. Also, put henhouse directly on ground to save on fencing around bottom.
5. This spring/summer clear our immediate backyard of all birch, spruce, pine, brush, bushes and leave only beneficial to us trees, maples apples and other wild edibles. This was the plan anyway, but we feel a bigger sense of urgency to make it a priority.
Finally, I have given myself this weekend to be as upset as I need to be. I’ve eaten, drank, smoked, talked and cried my feelings from friday into last night, sunday. Today, is a new day, a new time. We will always love the hens we lost. They were all full of personality, love and most of them were good at cuddling. They gave us eggs, entertainment, a certain sort of stress relief and a sense of “hey we can raise things!” type of pride. Those memories and moments are an integral part to our story- Even the terrible way we lost them. Life is such. Time to focus on the future.
Until next time, have a wicked good day.