Life and Death on the Farm

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
About a year ago, I wrote a post about farm life and if it really is worth all the trouble.  Fast forward a year and the troubles are happening again, but in a deadlier version.  But I will get to that a little later.

First I want to introduce you to our newest family members.  This is what I love about having a farm. The babies and the new family that we introduce on our farm. The new life that makes you feel so good and happy inside.

One of the things that I love about our public school is that in kindergarten and first grade, the classes get to hatch ducks and/or chickens.  They learn all about the process and the life cycle.  They get to see something that most do not get to witness, even in this rural area. I have never see children so excited.  Talk about a true hands-on learning experience.  That is something that they will always remember.

Aren't they cute?
The only thing is that once they chicks and ducks hatch, they need a place to go, We were lucky enough to be able to get 5 chicks from Carly's class to take home with us.  They are the cutest things and we get to experience raising chickens from the chick stage.  Before, we always bought pullets because we were afraid that we didn't have the time involved to take care of them.  But since we raised ducks up last year from babies, we thought we could do the same with the chicks.

We are hoping to get a couple of more ducks as well. There is a class that is currently trying to hatch some ducks and hopefully if they all hatch, we will get a couple of them.

But chicks aren't the only addition to our family. We have another one as well.

Carly has always wanted a bunny. From the time she was 4, she has been asking for one. We have always put her off saying that we didn't have a place for one and we didn't have the time to take care of it.

Well, this weekend we finally gave in. But there is a catch. She had to pay for the bunny, she has to take care of the bunny, and she has to do extra chores in order to help pay for feed.

Meet Rocky:

Our sweet, totally adorable, floppy-eared bunny. I'm in love!

Rocky is short for Rock Star.  That's right! We have a rock star living in our house. ;-)

We are not sure if it is a boy or girl, but it is the sweetest thing ever! This little bunny is so docile and loves to explore. I'm glad for this addition to our home. Steve and Carly will be building a rabbit hutch this summer so look for that post to be coming in the future.

Now for the bad.

We have lost a couple of our animals. First is was one of our guineas. It disappeared while we were away for the weekend. We even had Steve's daughter come and check on our animals. We came home to a pile of feathers.

With this many feathers you know the outcome can't be good.

The worst part was that four days later the guinea showed up in our yard dead. So now I'm wondering, did it get away from the original attack, only to come back home to be killed? I really thought that maybe one of our dogs had ended up killing it, but now I'm not so sure. They are rarely every aggressive to our birds, so it wouldn't be like them to kill one of them.

I posted a YouTube video of the sound of coyotes that run across our back field every night.  Well, the other morning, after Steve got up to go to work, he heard Abby (our border collie) going crazy. He got the spotlight out, and shined it into our backyard and just beyond the electric fence stood a coyote. As soon as the light hit it, Abby took off like a crazed and vicious animal (she is honestly so sweet) and tore into that coyote and drove it down past our creek.

This is one of the reasons why we have the dogs that we do. They are both stock dog breeds and very protective. While they may be part of our family, they do have a function on our farm, and that is to keep us and our animals safe.

We started talking about beefing up security. We need to redo the chicken run. The chickens can now get out and they roam free all day long. I love it, but it is no longer safe for them.

But the guinea is not the only one we lost. We also lost one of our ducks. Our one and only male duck. I didn't find a pile of feathers like I did with the guinea. It only took one...

This is the last thing I wanted to see.

I also found some paw prints.

One of the paw prints I found.

These are too large to belong to one of our dogs.

So now the hunt is on. Our first priority will be to drop everything and start working on our chicken pen. They are not going to be as happy, but they will still be alive. And this summer, we hope to get a chicken tractor built so they can still roam where there is fresh grass, but still be protected. And of course while we are home, they can roam free all over our yard.

So take a look at the paw print for me, and if you recognize it, let me know in the comments below what you think it is.  Is it a coyote? We also have bobcats around here as well.


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