We lost a lot of hens this spring to a very hungry Cooper's Hawk that we nicknamed "Diablo". That's Spanish for devil. And she was. She ate one hen a day for nine days. Not the whole hen, just the (cover your eyes if your squeamish) brain and guts. Mom tried everything to dissuade her, but Cooper's Hawks are woodland hawks and are very good at flying in tight spaces. We didn't want to shoot her (kinda because it's illegal, and kinda because we don't know how to use Farm Hand Dad's shotgun) so after talking to the Naturalist at the park, we did this:
We strung yarn across the top of the chicken yard, so close together that a hawk couldn't get through. After about a week of Diablo sitting in a tree and just watching the hens, she moved on.
A few weeks ago Mom decided it was safe to replace the hens. Normally she buys day old chicks and puts them in a brooder until they're big enough to go outside, but this year she said she was too busy to take care of baby chicks and decided to buy 16 week old pullets. Pullets are girl chickens less than 1 year old. At 16 weeks they are ready to start laying eggs.
So we loaded the minivan with dog crates and plastic tubs and drove to the Amish farm where mom buys her pullets. When we got there Mrs. King said they were sold out. Mom wasn't too happy about that since they live about 30 minutes away. And they are strict Amish, so they don't have a phone so Mom couldn't call ahead. Mom works with a lot of Amish, and they aren't all that strict (one even has a website!) but I'll leave those stories for another post.
Anyway, Mom ordered pullets from Mrs. King to arrive sometime in mid-May, and last week we got this in the mail:
Mom was so excited, you would have thought it was Christmas. So on Friday we loaded the minivan with crates and tubs, and drove back to the Kings. But I'll tell you about that tomorrow.