Sunday, December 9, 2007

Birds of a Different Feather

Life on the farm is always interesting. Today's episode began when Ken went to the barn to collect the early morning eggs ... he found birds in the barn. That's not so strange, you may think, except that one was a Great-horned OWL.

It's likely the owl had entered through the little chicken door as his tracks were in the snow outside. It must have seen a free meal just inside, within his reach - and having caught his prey ... didn't know how to get back out (no chickens out there in the freezing cold dark to lure him back out). We keep the little chicken door open year-round so the hens can get fresh air and sunshine whenever they choose. Never before has there been a problem - a wire mesh deterent will keep Mr. Owl at a distance from now on.

Of course, having checked the chickens in the evening, no one went out to the barn until the morning. How long Mr.Owl sought an exit we are left to wonder. Though it seemed the owl dined on only one poor hen, he sure did frighten the whole flock ... they cowered in the corner suffocating 33 of their own in their panic, evening laying their eggs, when nature called, on top of the deceased.

Replacing the birds is not an option as ready-to-lay hens are not to be had this time of year in our area, chicks take 5 months to raise to laying stage and an established flock does not accept new members well - there's always residual problems happening with such an attempt.

One tenth of the flock, gone in one fell tenth of the year's income. A call to faith for the family as we look to God to work His good for us:

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28<

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