Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I recently blogged about how well our chickens are doing this winter.  Well, I guess I spoke too soon.  We lost two of them a couple of days ago, but not to the weather.  As it turns out, a mink found its way to the coop and killed two of the hens.  We set a couple of traps, and while we were doing that, the mink was actually still in the coop hiding in the bedding.  When Mr. M started moving around in there, the mink made a mad dash out of the coop and ran right through the 2x4 inch opening in the wire that surrounds the pen.  He didn't even slow down to go through it.  We have no idea how he got into the pen and coop because there were no tracks in the snow that we could see. 
A few years ago we had chickens in a small building that is attached to the barn.  It's close to the creek, and one day a mink killed several of the chickens.  I caught it in the act, and it ran away.  We set a trap and caught it a few hours later when it came back to finish the job it started.  Since then we've had the chickens in a coop nearer the house (and farther from the creek) and have a pretty secure pen to keep out predators.  We didn't think any mink would wander so far from the creek area, and we thought that with the buffalo grazing in that area that maybe any mink would have moved on.  So it took us by surprise that one of them found our chickens. 
So far he hasn't been back and we're doing our best to protect the rest of the chickens.  When this happened, for the second time in a few years, my first reaction was to tell Mr. M maybe we should just not have chickens.  Death itself doesn't bother me so much as any suffering the animal goes through prior to death.  However, Mr. M reminded me that when you have animals, sometimes things like that happen.  It's just part of life when you live on a farm and raise animals.  We really do enjoy watching the chickens, and the eggs and meat are so much tastier and better for you than what you buy in the store.  So, we'll continue to have chickens for those reasons.  And, to be honest, our chickens are raised much more humanely (other than the occasional predator like the mink) than those raised for meat or eggs in commercial operations.

On a more pleasant note, a couple of days ago we woke up to some really pretty trees.  We'd had a bit of an ice storm and then snow on top of it the day and night before.

Doves, Juncos, and Goldfinches at the feeders.

Wow, almost half way through February!  Today is our daughter's birthday; she's now 30 years old.
I can't believe it's already that long since she was born; time just goes by too fast sometimes. 

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