A lot has happened on the homestead in the past few months. Our friend Dave came over and we continued working on the split rail fence, and it now stretches into the backyard. Only 400 more linear feet to go!
On the chicken front, unfortunately tragedy struck one night a few weeks ago. We had started keeping the chicks outside in the coop at night, which went well for a few days. Then one day, I went out to find a massacre. Somehow, a predator had managed to pry our automatic Chicken Guard door out of its track, and had slaughtered all but two of our chicks.
The door locks automatically, but I think whatever it was (most likely a fox or some coyotes) had managed to stick its claws in the very slight gap at the top and yank it open. You can see that I tried to plug the gap with a piece of wood at the top in the photo, but it still left a small opening. I really didn’t think anything larger than a mouse could get in, but apparently I was wrong. The small piece of wood has been replaced by a larger, stronger piece, but the damage has already been done. We were down to one silver laced Wyandotte and our rooster, Lamar.
A few days later, we got some more chicks, and are keeping them safe and sound in the garage until they are mature enough to survive outside in the coop at night. We have introduced them to the larger chicks a few times, but it is obvious that they need to grow a little more before they are able to stick up for themselves in the pecking order.
Avery still loves her chicks more than anything else. Hadley is mostly aloof to them, but has started wanting to hold them more frequently lately. She’s more content to watch them, whereas Avery feels compelled to chase them everywhere, and any hapless chick she manages to catch gets bombarded with fierce cuddles.
In an effort to protect our flock, in the future, I purchased a solar-powered security camera with night vision to alert us if a predator comes creeping around the coop. While I am not convinced that it will be 100% effective, it has led to some amusing shots of us frolicking around the yard!
And, in super exciting news, the chicken coop and outdoor run is finally, officially completed! I will write a more detailed post about exactly how we built it, but with my Dad’s help last weekend, we were able to stretch chicken wire over the top to keep airborne predators out, and covered up any holes or gaps to keep ground-based predators out. He and I both have the scars to prove how awful it is to work with chicken wire and hardware cloth.