Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A day of recovery, and fox concerns.

Sometimes our homestead is magical, and it seems to often come at times when we really need it. For instance, when we're so tired we can't think clearly, or when we realize that the fox is a bigger problem than we'd thought. Either way, yesterday was a magical day on the homestead with perfect lighting, gorgeous weather, and a cool breeze. It was exactly what we needed to recharge after getting back from a very long weekend that had nothing to do with rest. I'm going to be writing a post about food and travel for tomorrow, today let's look around at other things.

First things first, the Lady of the House finally got a good photo of our new rooster! We haven't named him yet but I'm tentatively calling him Mr. Bond Mk. II, though hopefully longer lived than George Lazenby. After all, the James Bond title, as one of our readers pointed out, is one that seems not to die while individuals may disappear. So far he's very much playing chicken politics to try to build himself a spot within the flock. The dominant (and now only remaining) Cinnamon Queen pushes him around fairly hard, and he doesn't fight back. What he has been doing is allowing the other chickens to encroach on his personal space and eat where he is eating, which makes them comfortable with him. This has led to him and the adolescents wandering around together, with the one remaining adult on her own a good portion of the time. That's a good lead in to the fact that we're down to 4 of the 5 chicks that we hatched, one leghorn, one Cinnamon Queen, and Mr. Bond Mk. II. I think the fox considers our flock a pantry. We're going to have to re figure things quickly, ideally we'd get an electric fence charger promptly, but money is an issue so we're going to be thinking about things. The real problem now is, the fox has learned to eat chicken from our house, and that's a hard thing to break.

That brings us to the next point though which is the turkeys. We let them out for the first time last night, but only for a few minutes before herding them back into their coop. They really are medium sized dinosaurs. They make strange noises that remind me of nothing more than the raptors from Jurassic Park. It's actually really cool watching them wandering around. What brought me to them though is, I wonder if they're out and flocking with the chickens during the day it will discourage the fox. Foxes probably would love to take a turkey, but I don't think they're stupid enough to bother something this big and dangerous looking. One of the things I'm going to have to figure out is if turkeys are stupid, or just very cautious. Something that a lot of people think is that birds are stupid, where as in a lot of cases it actually comes down to neophobia, that being the fear of anything new. For example, we gave them some corn on the cob we'd foolishly not eaten after cooking (Critter distracted us). They didn't eat it, this could be because they don't recognize it as food, or that they are scared of it because it is new. I'm not sure yet but it's something we're going to just have to watch and learn as we get used to having turkeys around the property. For now they're only going to be out for short jaunts so they don't decide to wander off, but we'll extend their out time day by day and hope that they provide a deterrent to predators. Thursday, I'll be discussing food ethics and unusual circumstances.

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