Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fowl Deeds By Night

Something wicked our way comes. Or at least, something hungry, with very sharp teeth and a taste for poultry. For the past week and a half, some fell beast has been stalking our chickens, and every few days we learn a bit more about chicken anatomy when we stumble across the remains of the latest victim during our morning egg run. The electric fence has been less than perfect due to grounding out on tall grass, so we don't know whether the hungry hunter came from above or managed to cross the fence unscathed. This series of events has led to a fair bit of dark humor from the apprentices as well as a number of hair-brained schemes to catch the perpetrators. Jack and Ben (our newest addition to the farm) favor an old fashioned stake out with a BB gun and a bottle strong enough to warm the cold night. Two of our neighborhood children proposed that a CCTV chicken cam would reveal the guilty party. (Perhaps this blog will soon feature a live feed?) I've been trying to strengthen the fence by flattening the weeds and tightening the corners, but we've still lost one hen since I began my efforts.

Meanwhile, our survivors go about their business seemingly unperturbed by the ghost in the darkness. Despite my fears of a declining egg count cutting into my free egg quota (I am troubled by the idea that I might eventually have to pay for eggs while working on a farm. This will not do.), the chickens seem to be producing at or only slightly below normal. This would seem to confirm Paige's optimistic appraisal that perhaps the murdered chickens were in fact our egg eaters. We've found the occasional egg shell and faint residue of yolk lately--tell-tale signs of chicken cannibalism--so if our predator has culled the flock of the offending bird(s) we won't begrudge it the free meal.

If not, well, perhaps we need to call in Val Kilmer.

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