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.
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?).
Brian 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. I 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.