4 09, 2015

Empty Nest?

By |2015-09-02T08:00:52-05:00September 4th, 2015|Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

 By Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara

We have another hawk terrorizing the chickens. It was hovering over the chicken yard and the girls were all squawking in terror.   I ran out and it flew into the neighbor’s tree.

This is the neighbor with chickens so I quickly texted her “Hawk alert.”

The hawk came back and sat on our fence until I came out the back door. Then it flew off and I haven’t seen it since.

This morning the chickens were making all kinds of noise before I had even let them out of the coop. It was their “Help, something is after us!” cry so I hurried to the chicken yard wondering what I’d find.

As I approached, I told them “I’m coming, I’m coming.” They quieted down. There was nothing there but chickens. I guess they were just ready to get up.

It reminded me of when our kids were still in baby cribs. They would wake up and make noise until one of us came in to get them out of the crib. We sent the youngest off to college this month.

I was thinking, though, that as long as we have chickens, we’ll never really be “empty nesters.”

20 12, 2013

Hawk Saga Chapter 2 – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-12-20T06:00:46-06:00December 20th, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

A hawk is using our chicken coop as an all-you-can-eat buffet. hawk in tree

So far, the predator has carried off two of our bantams and tried to carry off a big hen, but apparently the hen was too heavy. The hen has tale-tell signs of claw marks on its back.

Another hen, named Little Gray Hen, died of unknown causes. I’m blaming the hawk.

Thanksgiving morning I looked out to see the hawk with another one of the bantams.  My husband took his pellet gun outside and the hawk dropped the hen and flew off leaving the deceased hen on the ground.

My son asked if there was such a thing as hawk bait.  Apparently, bantam chickens work great.

The hawk stayed away for a few days.

Then when I got home one morning this week, I heard a familiar cry from the chicken yard – “hawk, hawk!!!”

I raced out in search of the hawk, but couldn’t see it.

I saw no chickens either. Even the bantams were hidden under their coop.  All the big hens cowered under the trees.

As I checked on them, the hawk flew away. He’d been somewhere close by watching and waiting.

A friend recently asked me about the intelligence of chickens. I’m not sure about their intelligence but something allows them to sense danger when humans cannot see it.

There have been no hawk sightings in the past few days.

Just in case, the chickens are keeping an eye on the sky.hens watching-2

29 11, 2013

Disturbances on the Farm – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-11-29T06:00:32-06:00November 29th, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A guest blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

This has been a very disturbing two weeks on Miller Farm.

Last Wednesday morning I discovered a dead quail in the cage in the chicken coop. This would not have been so bad except the quail was half-eaten.

I thought perhaps I had forgotten to feed them on Tuesday and their cannibalistic instincts surfaced. I gave them plenty of food and went on about my day.

Thursday morning I discovered another dead, half-eaten quail. This was not a welcome addition to my morning routine.

I looked all around the coop for evidence of the savage beast that was destroying my quail, but saw nothing out of the ordinary.

On Friday morning, I discovered not one, but two dead, half-eaten quail.

I was running late and didn’t have time to dispose of them before heading to school to play piano for chapel. When I returned, I removed the two dead quail bodies.

Then I decided to move the two remaining live quail to a different cage. Whatever was getting into the cage was certain to return. The quail were somewhat distressed at their new accommodations, but I thought it was better for them to be somewhat disturbed than very dead.

Saturday evening when I went to close up the chickens, I could not find one of the bantam hens.  I thought perhaps she had flown to the larger bird side and was in the big coop.

When I let the chickens out on Sunday, she was not there. I did find a bunch of white feathers leading me to believe a hawk was the culprit.

Later that afternoon, a gray bantam disappeared leaving only a pile of feathers.

This was extremely upsetting.  Was it possible whatever had eaten the quail was now moving up to the bantams?  Would it then turn on the larger birds?

A more pertinent question was – could I convince the predator to carry off some of the overpopulation of roosters instead of the quail and bantams?

The following Tuesday, I saw a flurry of activity in the chicken yard. I figured one of the large hens had gotten into the bantam side and was trying to return.

Upon closer examination, I realized it was not a hen, but a hawk who had invaded the bantam pen.hawk

One of the larger roosters was fighting it off through the fence between the bantam and large chicken yards.

I ran out into the yard, but the hawk flew off. I quickly took stock of the bantams and found none missing.  I scanned the trees for the murderous hawk, but there was none.

Returning to the kitchen, I watched like a hawk for the hawk (is that redundant?).

shooting hawskBrian showed me how to use the pellet gun should the hawk return. I’ll teach that hawk to mess with Chicken Wrangler Sara!

Tonight when I went to close the chickens, I discovered a giant possum under the bantam coop. possumI screamed and headed to the house to get Possum Wrangler Brian.

He grabbed the pellet gun and went after the possum. It was harder than I imagined.

Finally the deed was done.  Brian thinks it could have been the possum getting the quail. Not anymore.

Now if we could just get the hawk, all would be calm on Miller Farm – at least in the chicken yard.

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