Friday, February 23, 2007

security breech

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Before the snowfall, we had a security breech on the chicken run. The fence was broken into on the garden side. It was difficult to tell how the predator entered and exited. I was afraid of what I might find when I opened the door to the hen house. But all of the chickens were accounted for. I could only assume, therefore, that whatever predator had broken into the chicken run, was to large to enter the small door to the hen house.

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After the snow, it took us a few days to shovel our way to the hen house. I had set things up nicely, so I was not worried about anything. They had at least a weeks worth of food and water, and I even gave them a pumpkin and some winter squash and millet sprays to keep them busy. The plastic tarp that we hung in December, seems to be making a nice green house effect. The "how low did it go" thermometer shows that the high has been in the 50's, with the lows around 2 degrees. The temp's inside the hen house are around 35 to 40. The tarp also helped to protect an area from the snow, so the hens can come out and wander around a portion of the yard without having to stand in the snow.

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After I had shoveled the path to the hen house so I could collect the eggs, I noticed these tracks in the snow ...coming from the ledges, and leading down to the chicken run. The path is traveled several times over the course of as many days. I followed it as far as I could, looking for a track with a clean outline to help me determine what animal had made them. I was not successful.

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They were about as big around as a tennis ball, but that could be due to snow melt making them larger. The tracks also went under the fallen trees, where the head space was only about a foot or so high. I am uncomfortable leaving the run door open now. It could be a fox or a bobcat, but I don't think it is a coyote. Whatever it is, it is hungry and looking for free meal....

8 comments:

Judy said...

Well the coyote does know the way to your henhouse! I saw a big one running under the ledges by my house. We have been lucky ever since the fall when we lost the two ducks. Would love to justify the cost of one of the camera's that takes a pic when something walks by it just to see what it was.

Anne said...

Hm..... this time of the year it pretty much could be anything. Those carnivores are hungry and I'm sure chicken sounds really good to them right about now. Fingers crossed you will only have visits and no losses!

judy said...

Thanks to Fish & Wildlife your woodlands have been stocked with fishers. I had an arguement years ago with them when the began the process as a way to control the porcupine. Check the tracks for a grouping of three.

C said...

Fishers? Waiting for more details on the tracks.

cyndy said...

Thanks for the tip about the fishers! I am inclined to believe that it could be a fisher. I had gone out this morning after chores, to check for groupings of three, and to try and get some better photographs. Now I need to go out again with my ruler to measure! Any idea how to tell the difference between a fisher and a marten?

Ernest said...

They stocked with fisher cats? Good grief! What are those idiots thinking?

As if there wasn't already 200 years worth of documented case studies that introducing animals to control other animals is a bad idea.

meresy_g said...

I hope your chickens are okay. As much as we want our chickens to be safe and sound, reintroduction of a native predator is usually positive. How exciting that you may have a fisher! Do you have a birthday or anniversary coming up? Definitely ask for a Gamecam!

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

Glad to hear the chickens are all safe and well!

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