Tag Archive for fox

Quick Little Update

This year has been a bit of a chaotic one, but in a good way. We started off our growing season with the massive project of re-doing the fencing around both of the gardens. Originally it was a mess of pulp-wood posts and hodge-podged fencing that was constantly falling in due to snow load and getting pushes out of place by the groundhogs. Brand new cedar posts and welded wire fencing fixed that. We now have a fence secure enough that we can use it as a trellis and actually did use it as a make-shift clothesline while ours needed to be replaced.

The garden itself has preformed admirably thus far! We’re up to 7 quarts of snap beans in the freezer, a batch of salsa, sauce, and ketchup from our own tomatoes, enough zucchini for stir-fries and a few loaves of zucchini bread for the freezer, roughly 80lbs of potatoes from the 12lbs that went in, and more than enough fresh produce to have kept our bellies happy over the course of late-summer. I did purchase “ugly seconds” tomatoes from a local farm to make additional pasta sauce and salsa with. I also found a wicked deal on cucumbers (40 lbs for $25) to stock the shelves with pickles and relishes.

On top of what our own garden has been producing and the deals I’ve found via local farms, blueberry and strawberry picking season was also I huge success as this year we weren’t impeded by the hunt for a new vehicle in the midst of it all. Up next is apple picking season, which has just started, and then what I hope will be an annual trip for a trunk full of pumpkins.

Chicken wise, the basement chest freezer is half full of poultry. We have enough for at least one roasted chicken a month, and given that each bird provides a week’s worth of meals for the four of us, I’m more than happy with that!

In another month, however, we’ll have to make a decision as to which of the new six roosters to keep over winter as an assistant to Greenleaf, our head rooster. We have a couple young cocks we’re keeping an eye on, so we might end up with two. As long as the fox doesn’t snag any more birds, we’ll also have five new hens to add into the flock for the winter. We lost seven hens total this year – five to the fox, two to illness – which is higher than most years, but still fit within the 25% margin that we try to work with. (We always try to keep a flock 25% larger than we absolutely need so that when losses do occur, and they will, it’s not such a blow.)

Schemes and dreams are already in the works for next growing season as we’re currently ahead on firewood and has reserved energy from not having to stress about that. I’ll post more in the future about our goals for next spring, but right now I’ll say that we might be working out a farmstand here at the homestead to bring in a little extra and we might be adding a porcine or two for meat raising. While next year remains simmering on the backburner, the fall garden is slowly filling in, a new placement for the blueberry bushes and irrigation for said plants is in the works, and garlic cloves are waiting impatiently to be planted.

Fox Trap

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We lost another. Between the fox now having taken three chickens and us having to deal with the rooster (who according to the butcher had spurs much larger than a normal yearlings), we’re now down to our five laying girls. Needless to say, we called the animal control officer (ACO) last Saturday and are renting a trap from him.

It wasn’t touched for the first three days, but we didn’t have any coverage on it or anything. We decided to amp up our attempts by camouflaging it a bit and adding a few eggs in there. The past two nights something has come and eaten the bait – without setting off the trap. We’ve fought with the trap and I think we finally have it so it will trigger very easily. We’ll be reloading it tonight. Here’s hoping it works.

In the meanwhile, the poor ladies have been coop bound with some supervised out time. If it’s not raining when hubster gets home, I’ll be letting them out some. On the plus side, they’re doing really awesome with letting me usher them in a la rooster style and with the help of a big stick. Small victories, right?

And then there were seven…

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Now that our chatter box is gone, the coop’s more silent than normal.

About a week ago now we lost another hen to the fox. I was out at the post office and came back to Louise, one of our oldest pet birds, gone. All that was left behind was a pile of tail and wing feathers. I’m assuming she put up one hell of a fight. Skee – another of our original three – had lost a pigeon’s worth of feathers as well.

When I found Short Beak, our only roo, he was pretty beaten up. There was blood dripping off his wattles and he was missing most of his beard. His saddle feathers were a little thinner, too. He was having a hard time standing on his own. We ended up having to pull him into the rehab clinic (read: dog kennel in basement) so that he could regain his strength. He hasn’t crowed since, though. We don’t know if we’ll keep him or not if he keeps being so quiet.

He really scared us when he didn’t eat, though. He seemed severely depressed on his own. Once we put him back in the coop, he perked up a bit though. Here’s hoping he starts yakking.

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Post-attack.

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What’s left of the Aracuanas.

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Edith and Skee are missing Louise. Neither of them have been super perky.