The new year brings a new predator to the farm.  I had my first owl sighting last night.  Coming home in the dark two nights ago I noticed one of the ducks trapped in the poultry netting.  I switched the fence off and untangled the duck.  Once untangled it quacked off happily to join the others.  I thought it was weird but I didn't give it much thought as I locked all the birds into their houses for the night. 

Last night I again came home in the dark to another duck stuck in the netting.  As I got closer and shown the spot light, I heard it.  The unmistakable, 'who who' of the owl, it had killed a chicken.  The duck must have given it more of a fight and both the dying duck and the owl were stuck in the netting. 

After a quick trip to the house, a few moments later I made sure that owl took its last bird.  This was the first time I had seen or even heard an owl up close.  While they are very good looking birds, I cant have this owl taking out my birds every night. 

Predators are all around the farm waiting to strike at any time, this seems more true during the winter months as food becomes scarce.  In this cause I only lost a few birds and I got lucky to be in the right place at the right time and was able to eliminate the predator. 

The attack shows me that this owl was going to keep coming back night after night to take bird after bird until it was caught or killed all of my birds.  Life and death are both constants on the farm.  While you don't ever want to lose any of your animals to predators it will happen.  Going forward we will take a deeper look into how we can all protect our animals on the farm. 

This time I got lucky to catch this owl in the act.  How have you fought back against predators?  We would love to hear about your predator issues and way you fixed the problem.  As always email us or leave a message in the comments.   

Pekins are meat birds, however they do lay eggs.  Over the summer I was contacted by someone who had bought them as day old ducklings and decided after a few months’ ducks were not there cup of tea.  After a little bit of thought I decided to take in a drake and duck pair of 2 month old Pekins. 

My plan for the Pekins when I took them in was to over winter them, let them lay a few dozen eggs next spring, incubate, and hatch out the baby Pekin ducklings.  Essentially making these birds my breeding stock.    

Farm plans are always evolving.  And my Pekin duck plan is changing as well.  It turns out the duck (yes it's confusing that a female duck is also called a duck) has injured her leg.  She has been limping around trying very badly to keep up with her fellow quackers.  After a few days she was not getting any better. I decided to keep her in the hoop house in order to make sure she could rest her injured leg and hopefully recuperate. 

Unfortunately she hasn’t gotten any better.  I will give her a few more days to improve and hopefully she does, however I do now have a revised plan if she doesn’t.  If she doesn’t recover shortly the Pekins will be marked for the freezer and one for Christmas dinner.

Time will tell what happens, stay tuned to see what will happen.