Sunday, August 4, 2019

KFC drive thru

No. Not the human version of KFC, but the apparent wildlife view of our chickens.  After all...why not visit the local KFC?

I used to like our chickens to roam freely in the backyard.  Well, for multiple summers in a row now, that's not turned out all that great for the chickens.

Last year we had a fox visit regularly for about 2 weeks.  (lost about 10 birds to that buggar). And again this summer...for about 2 weeks...and again...lost about 10 birds to that buggar.  (I'm thinking was the same fox...but I suppose could have been a different one.)  Doesn't matter really.

So I've learned a few things about chicken predators over the years. 

  • Hunt during the day, usually early morning.
  • They kill multiple birds at one time, then gather them all up and take the entire chicken away leaving only a puff of feathers as evidence that you lost a bird. They'll come back later if they can't carry them all at once.
  • Impossible to catch in the act. They seem to know when you're home and outside and then patiently wait until nobody is around to attack.
  • The photo below surprised me.  Fox at night...I'd found our rooster dead one day after a fox attack where I found no less than 3 piles of feathers. Tied his body to this tree and set up my camera.  Look who came lurking after dark.  Apparently fox hunt at night also.


  •  These little rascals are nocturnal. Night time hunter/seeker/troublemakers.  Is rare if you see them in daylight and if you do it's probably because they are ill/sick.
  • If they can get into your chicken barn they will eat eggs and also kill your chickens right off their roosts.
  • They leave the chicken bodies behind.  (Often times incriminating another animal as the culprit..such as a possum)


  • These guys are scavengers mostly....but I've come to believe they're not chicken killers but rather eat on what the raccoons leave behind (hence the incrimination). 
  • They'll eat eggs and already dead chickens, but I don't believe they kill chickens.

  • Daunting when you have these aerial predators around because apart from netting or overhead protection of some will lose chickens to these ruthless predators.
  • You can't really do anything about these feathered fellas and gals because it's illegal to kill them.  If they do kill one of your birds...might as well leave the body so they get their fill.  They will come back hour after hour, day after day to eat on that dead bird until they get their fill.
  • Not only do hawks kill living chickens or living things in general, but they will also eat on road kill or something freshly killed on the road.
There was a time when my chickens would free-range in the backyard.  And then the red-tail hawks showed up.  After successfully killing 5-8 my chickens figured out that upon the roosters warning call if they'd high-tailed it the the pine trees (branches were down to the ground) they would be safe until the threat had lost interest).  That is...until the fox showed up.  Running to the pines now became a very bad defense...easy pickings for the fox.

The solution?

Close up the barn at night...just before dark.  (Auto doors work great!  Battery powered, open and close automatically at sunrise and sunset).

Netting over the chicken yard if at all possible.

Shore up the chicken yard fences.  Wire fencing down into the ground at the bottom of your fences will help deter digger/tunnelers too.

Purchase replacement chickens.  Now this of course is futile if you don't first make attempt to deter predators.  Here's my latest batch of replacements.

Stay tuned.  There's never a dull moment around here.  Always some predator lurking about.

Why vehicles on railroad tracks don't mix well...

In June this was the result of a vehicle being abandoned on the Norfolk Southern Chicago double mainline in Swanton, Ohio.

An intermodal westbound train derailed around 10:20pm on Thursday night, June 6th after striking an abandoned vehicle on the tracks.  Miraculously no one was killed or even injured in this accident but nearby buildings and parked vehicles were damaged from flying debris and rocks for the railroad track.

It took Norfolk Southern crews until Saturday morning to restore railroad traffic.  Meanwhile Amtrak trains were also affected and unable to run through this area.

According to a WTOL ABC news article, Logan Guess has been indicted by a Fulton County Ohio grand jury on two counts.  She will answer trial for one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and another count of interference with the operation of a train, a felony. 

To view more images of the wreckage and read more detail visit the following links.

Norfolk Southern railroad traffic has since been fully restored and all rail traffic is back to track speed.

beekeeping continues!

I was so thrilled to open my hive up this Spring and learn that the girls survived the winter!!  Originally when I jumped into beekeeping my idea was to start with one and then end on two hives.  I wasn't in any real hurry to get a second hive...but it just sorta unfolded in my lap this year.

Here's an image of the newly installed nuc (via Ramge local beekeeper extraordinare, thank you KENT!) into my second hive.

I continue to learn...somewhat by accident and somewhat by necessity when it comes to beekeeping and all involved.

My original hive swarmed this year. (can't say that I expected to experience that in just year 2...but there goes the learning again).  Fortunately, the remaining bees made a new queen and they're back to doing what bees do best...grow, gather, store, defend, repeat.

I did attempt to recapture my swarm...but they weren't having it and left to who knows where...maybe some other beekeeper was able to capture them and re-home them.  I'll never know.  But I know more than before about swarms and what to expect and what to do next, etc.  I also know that I've been delusional to think that my beekeeping adventure will end on just 2 hives.  I'll bet that in time I may have as many as 4 or 5...but I'm in no hurry to arrive at that.  Nope...too much learning still to do before that happens.

"Bees will do what bees will do.  Beekeepers are just along for the ride."  Rachel Dickson