The Farm Report: Chicken-Killer, Big Beans and Big Boom-Booms

To our American readers, I hope you had a good Fourth of July.  And to the rest of you, I hope you had a good Tuesday.

Those green beans Chareva didn’t bother to re-plant this year are still growing like crazy.  Here’s today’s haul, along with today’s haul of tomatoes.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that we’ve got a clever chicken-killer going after the younger flock.  We didn’t mind so much when the older flock started disappearing.  We were already wondering when it would be time to let them go.

But as I feared, once the predator was in the habit of enjoying chicken dinners on the Fat Head Farm, he decided to find his way into the chicken yard where the young egg-layers live.  It’s annoying to lose productive chickens, and doubly annoying because we can’t figure out who the critter is or how he’s getting in at night.

Chareva has checked the fence several times.  I’ve set my trap, but haven’t managed to catch the little @#$%.  I guess it’s time to set up the trail cam and least get a mug shot.  Based on what I’ve read online, the likely culprit is a skunk or a possum.  Raccoons usually leave most of the carcass behind.  The recent chicken victims have been mostly eaten.

One of the little joys of living in the sticks is being able to legally make big boom-booms with guns and explosives.  We had a much bigger group on hand for the Fourth of July this year than we did last year.  Chareva’s parents live here now, and she had two nephews and a niece in town visiting, along with their mothers.  Here’s a brief version of the show we put on last night.


20 thoughts on “The Farm Report: Chicken-Killer, Big Beans and Big Boom-Booms

  1. Bob Niland

    re: … time to set up the trail cam …

    If the carcasses are in situ, odds are rising of it being one of the smaller preds, like a weasel, mink or ferret that can get through openings the bigger pests can’t.

    Normally, most of your weasels are in busy in their political positions, but the trail cam should settle the matter.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I appreciate the suggestion. It must be something small, since Chareva can’t find an obvious breach in the fencing.

      1. Malaena Medford

        I spray my flock with wolf pee and it worked against a skunk my roo kept chasing off. He’s so big and mean to them that the little predators are afraid of the hens. I watched him fend off a cat.

  2. Dianne

    Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing. The big ones that explode way above the ground sure produce some interesting echoes.

  3. Linda

    Beautiful fireworks! The only ones I saw this fourth. Having been sent to a walker by the statins, I no longer go to our town’s fireworks, like I used to. My neighborhood was very loud the night of the fourth and drove my poor border collie nuts!

    I hate that you’re losing egg layers! I am always so thankful when my guy who helps with my garden brings me eggs from his chickens- I love those eggs! So much better than grocery store eggs!

    Totally off the subject here- but, I’m wondering if the probiotics advertised here on your site are the ones you take. I’ve been looking at different ones and got totally stymied at the store with the difference in them. If you recommend the ones on your site, I’ll give them a try.

  4. Martin Wood

    I am going assume that your problem will be a mink. I have watched a mink two weeks ago walk through our chain link fence and dive into our pond, go for a couple of laps . It will then walk away in any direction and disappear into the river east of our home. This year we have had no problem with garter snakes, in fact I have not seen one this year.
    Two years ago we lost our two foot Koi to a mink. We were able to see the mink trying to drag what was left of the fish through the fence . My golfing buddy not far from me is also losing chickens on his farm.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Hmmm, maybe we can get a mink stole out of the deal.

      Whatever it is, it killed another chicken last night. I’m starting to take this personally.

  5. BobM

    Did you get a trail camera yet? I have one, and we find all kinds of animals: weasels, bobcats (3 at once!), skunks, deer, possums, coyotes, foxes, etc. No bear as of yet. And this is in CT.

    Everyone we know who has tried to raise chickens has had them decimated. We periodically think about getting chickens, but then we see what’s on the trail cam, and we don’t. We also have multiple hawks and owls. I’m about to put up a “raptor perch” to get the raptors a place to hunt mice and chipmunks, which where I live carry ticks that carry disease. So, I went to encourage predators, and that goes against wanting chickens.

    Now, if we could only get rid of the groundhog/woodchuck, that would be great.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I haven’t set up the trail cam yet. We tried putting the electric fence around the coop yesterday, but it apparently it wasn’t sufficiently charged yet — it’s solar powered. So we lost another chicken last night. Chareva is buying additional traps today, since the one I have isn’t catching the critter.

    2. Bob Niland

      There’s a reason why chicken wire earned its name. There is a certain minimum barrier opening dimension needed to block predators of concern.

      The chicken tractor we use has 1x1in welded wire or cast polymer grids, and in some 3 years now, we’ve never lost a chicken in it. We did lose one that failed to show up for evening roll call, and got locked out overnight. Snakes and skinks can get through 1×1, but don’t seem to be a problem (chances are they don’t like being pecked on). Mice can get through 1×1, but the chickens will eat them when they can catch them.

      Aerial preds won’t challenge netting. You can get 1x1in lightweight poly netting in large sheets fairly economically. 4x4in probably suffices in that role.

      1. Tom Naughton Post author

        We’ve had nets over the coops from the beginning. I believe the critter has found a way to burrow in.

  6. Bonnie

    Doubt if it would be a skunk. Our skunks go after the eggs & have never touched the chickens. Raccoons, on the other hand, take off with the entire bird. Or, as suggested, it could be a weasel of some sort. Good luck catching it.

  7. chris c

    It’s a starving vegetarian, that’s why it only comes out at night, so no-one can see it chomp down on meat.


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