As you know, a raccoon took my sweet Ethel in the dawn recently. I say raccoon, because the manner of death and remains indicated a textbook raccoon killing. I didn’t see it, but Keela sounded her ALERT bark around 6:30am. I assumed it was rabbits and didn’t investigate. Lesson learned, lesson learned.
I know raccoons are around. Keela treed one in the late fall. Lordy, what a racket they both made! Long ago, when the kids were little, we had three baby raccoons come through our dog door into the house. Seriously mean little animals. I’ve not been a fan since that encounter. There’s now a trap in the backyard along with cat food for bait. I’ve set it every night. So far, no luck.
BUT. Three nights since then, between 2am and 4am, Keela has come UNGLUED barking. I’ve run to the back door and shone the spotlight.
Raccoon? Nope. FOX. Good grief. REALLY??
I watched that handsome animal jump the 4′ barnyard fence with room to spare. It didn’t linger at all. It looked more like a 50 yard dash through the yard than a stealthy attack on my hens.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. My nightmare continues. This time it was Thelma. Sweet, sweet Thelma. And the murderer was that damn, fence-jumping fox.
It was totally my fault. At my nightly check I went out, counted heads, raised the food containers and told everyone goodnight. I screwed the smaller door into the goat shed closed to protect Lucy. I was comfortable that no animal in their right mind was going to jump over Doink, who sleeps right at the threshold in front of Louise and Sophia. But after three years of not locking them up at night, I plain forgot the most important part. I didn’t lock the coop door. The ladies pushed it open at dawn and went out into the barnyard. Where the fox was waiting for Thelma.
I find it complex to be a human in charge of the care of my animals. The whole circle of life thing depends on where my animals are in that circle. Keela kills a squirrel or rabbit – YOU GO GIRL! But a fox, probably just trying to feed her kits, comes into my barnyard and kills one of my girls? I want to shoot her dead. I have never touched a gun in my life. I don’t eat meat. Doesn’t matter. You hurt mine? I hurt you. (I don’t even know what that MEANS. But that’s how I feel.)
This entire problem is complicated by the fact that Keela is such a good guard dog. Not a LGD in the barnyard obviously, but if I could let her out at 6am to scan the horizon, any animal coming close would be intimidated by her presence. However, I have an unpleasant neighbor who thinks any dog barking before 10am negatively affects his health. I cannot allow my dog to help me protect our animal family.
But I digress. I can’t get rid of my neighbor anymore than I can magically make that fox disappear. Such is life.
Thelma was a good hen, a Red Star who gave us many eggs. She was pretty, except when she was molting, and her beautiful red neck feathers were a sight to behold.
This next part may not sit will with some, but for me it was like a sign from the universe.
As I was, again, picking up feathers, I found this. So. freaking. perfect. Like an angel wing. Which, I guess, it was.
(Shared at Backyard Farming Connection, Maple Hill Hop, Tuesdays With A Twist, Homestead Barn Hop, Clever Chicks Hop, Homesteaders Hop, Simple Saturdays, Old Fashioned Friday, From The Farm Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, Home Acre Hop and Down Home Hop)