Sunday, May 30, 2010

farming smiles and strife

Our sheep, knee deep in grass on our front yard/pasture.

Farming is a delicate balance of hard work, joy, and occasional tragedy. We've had both this week.

First the good stuff:

Our 4 week old ducklings enjoying roomier quarters and their first taste of the great outdoors.

Our 3 week old turkeys checking out their new digs.

And there are 41 fertile duck eggs cooking away in the incubator. They'll be hatching in about 2 weeks.

And now the bad stuff.

Thursday afternoon, while we were out having a grand time weaving at co-op and watching J enjoy a drop-in Modern Dance class at the school he wants to dance at next fall, something (probably a fox) staged a mass slaughter at our place. We came home to find that our entire adult duck flock had been wiped out, along with half of our chickens. Our remaining chickens are furious at having to be kept locked in for a couple of weeks to make sure they stay safe -- they are trying to escape every time the coop door is opened, and they are smashing the eggs they lay in protest to the confinement.

Here's Joy, one of our collies, on patrol in the pasture. She's spending her days down there for awhile, to intimidate any predators from coming back in.

We're all sad at the animal loss (especially a really special pet duck we lovingly referred to as "Blind Duck," because she was), but this unfortunately is the price that is occasionally paid for caring for and loving animals. I guess the joy we experience on a daily basis from being surrounded by these little living, breathing marvels is worth having to deal with the occasional heartache.

I'm off to buy a few more adult ducks, who will be kept locked in like the chickens to keep them safe while that fox is still raising it's young. Honestly, I don't mind donating the occassional bird in order for baby foxes to grow, but it really stinks to have them kill more than they can possibly use.


Chuck said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. I am sure Ariel will be sad to hear the news upon her return from AZ. :(
If there is anything you need let us know.

Stacey said...

Oh, I'm sorry for your loss. I hope the fox doesn't reappear.

Karen said...

Sorry about your loss.

Last week I did a transport of two Great Pyr rescue puppies to be livestock guardian dogs number 2 and 3 on a New Hampshire farm. They got hit really hard by coyotes last year that decimated their birds and attacked the sheep and pigs as well. They added a Great Pyr last year to their Icelandic sheepdogs, but they've got a pack of coyotes.

Anonymous said...


miss you all and love you all!! can't wait to see you next week and catch up on all the other (happy) news.


Tanya said...

That is sad. Especially for the kids. My girls have been helping to raise these 13 chicks whose coop is right outside our house . Then while doing circle time, they saw a hawk swoop down and take of them. They both ran out screaming, and it dropped it, but it was already dead. They were inconsolable, and although it is so sad, it is also life and there will be more sadness when we get more animals. Different from your fox story, as he could have just taken 1 !!! Almost like a trickster story that.