As we roll into the fall and winter months, food for predators can become a bit more scarce and harder to find. It is important to be especially vigilant during these times to keep our flock safe. Another type of predator proofing that we added to our coop are Nite Guard Solars. We wanted to add them for a few reasons.
Like many of you around the country, we have had to take extra precautions to keep our flock safe from predators. Cape Cod is home to many predators including but not limited to foxes, coyotes, skunk, raccoon, opossum, weasels, fisher cats, owls and hawks. Any of these would love to make a meal out of one of our flock members. We have always had to be very safe. Our free-ranging is always supervised and mostly takes place after in the early evening before dusk. This gives the flock just enough time to stretch their legs and explore before nightfall.
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Do you ever have those moments when you can’t wait any longer to fix something wrong in the coop? Well, after dinner last night, I did. I knew that I needed to adjust the hardware cloth that I had buried in the ground last Fall to guard my flock from predators. I needed to rebend and relocate some of the cloth. The girls were digging such deep holes that lead to exposed wire edging. I was afraid someone was going to get hurt.
So, with tools in hand, especially my Cobrahead (which just so happens to be one of the best digging tools I own), I set out. It was around 5:30 pm and I knew that I had about 2 more hours before sunset. The best part, was that the girls could free-range for almost 2 hours!
Everyone was let out except for the broody girls and Dolly. They preferred to stay in the coop as I worked. I locked them into the coop and then removed the run. My set-up is easy this way, nothing is attached permanently. This makes for easy cleaning and reassembly. As I worked, the girls could not be more curious.
Tilly came to visit me the most. I would call out to them when I found a tasty bug or worm. In my best chicken impression, deep and low, I called out their names then, “Duht, duht, duht, dut”. No matter where Tilly girl was, she would come running! It was fun. As I redug some of the trenches, the girls could also not help peering into the sides of the 12 inch trench. They would jump from side to side and stick their long necks into the deep abyss. They also could not help knocking the dirt back in. I think they thought it was funny watching Mom dig holes like chickens. At one point they all dug around me. So much dirt, leaves and woodchips were flying, I had to take a moment and just smile.
Chocolate too was on his best behavior. He romanced his girls one at a time. Strutting around the yard with them and offering up all tasty morsels. I guess it wasn’t quite so Disney when it came to Tilly. My goodness, I think he lured her in for loving! That poor girl, there was no end in sight. Finally, I had to pull him off her. She can only take so much feather pulling!
All in all, despite the hard work, I had a great time watching the evening shadows begin to appear after sunset. It was a magical time with the girls. It had been such a long time since we were able to spend so much time together in one gathering. It was enchanting. As I came into the house, the Spring Peepers had just begun their evening serenade of the woodland creatures of the night.