Yesterday I was excited to find out that one of our hens we thought had been victim to a predator was actually alive. Not only alive, but she’d been hiding a nest in the barn loft and had hatched 6 chicks!
So entertaining. She chased the sheep out of the barn and took over their space. The look and body language they had was priceless. Pure confusion and annoyance, with a touch of fear.
The black and white one (Appy) gets that same look when there is a cougar prowling around. Hahaha
We’ve wanted to have a hen “go broody”, but when we’ve had them, it’s really just a hen that hoards eggs and ends up aggressively sitting on a small tower (like 20 eggs). None hatch, they just spoil. One refused to leave the coop last year and ended up falling victim to the elements, starvation, and dehydration. If you forced her out, she’d run back in. It was crazy.
So this was a delight!
However, my joy has turned to frustration and disappointment.
Last night Mama Hen bedded down in the open outside. We’ve had a predator raiding the barn and surrounding area, plus there was a storm coming in. We forced her & her chicks into the barn last night. We discussed the predator (really not sure what it is, but it eats eggs, raccoon?), and a best nesting place for her. We decided on a little hay cove that had been getting used by the bummer lambs. It was open since the lambs have been let out with the rest of the herd. We tucked them where we thought they would have the best protection. Given we’re not sure what the animal is that has been raiding the barn, we did our best.
Our best wasn’t good enough. Hubby checked this morning and there are two healthy chicks and one sickly. Our fierce Mama Hen didn’t make it.
This is the part of farm life I hate. The part where you feel good about protecting your charges and you choose wrong, or if you chose right, it still wasn’t enough.
Hubby is setting traps, but that won’t bring back Mama Hen.
I’m not really up on the different predators in this area. The Columbia Basin really only had coyotes and skunks. I’ve literally been googling this now, but I also have to google if those animals are in our area. Bluh! Its like looking something up in the dictionary to then look it up in a children’s dictionary. hahha
This gave me ideas, but do we have weasels? According this “Mammals of Washington” article – yes. Wolverines! That’s really a thing in the PNW? WTF! And I love the comment “except in the Columbia Basin” when I looked up weasels. haha Yes Kelley, you used to live in a desert wasteland where almost nothing lived without you forcing it. You’re not in the desert anymore. Welcome to the land of bears, cougars, wolves, opossums, weasels, and apparently a chance of wolverines.