Thursday, March 29, 2012

This Chicken Hawk is No Laughing Matter

Snoozin' in the wood shop while mom builds bee frames
Things are moving right along here on the farm.  There is a lot to do now that spring is here.  Not so much with the alpacas yet, it is the standard feed them and clean up after them for now.  Though they are getting a little grass time in addition to their hay, which makes them very happy.  This past weekend was also worming time once again, so that is done until the end of April.  Wow, April!

We had a bit of a chicken crisis on Friday afternoon.  Our chickens are definitely  free range and are generally all over the farm, at least within sight of the barns.  They can be found scratching in the leaf litter in the ditches and on the hillsides and under the multiflora roses, or along the creek bank.  One generally hears them before seeing them.  Their scratching and scuffling is accompanied by a constant verbal "burble" as I call it.  It is just a soft noise they make as they forage and I think it helps them to keep in touch with each other.  

So, when the dogs and I arrived home around 4 pm from our walk on Friday afternoon  the first thing we noticed was a large hawk who flew from one of the big oaks across the road from the pasture and screamed at us as he circled back and landed in another tree not far from where he had been.  That worried me.  But not as much as the fact that as I got closer to the house, there was not a chicken in sight.  Nowhere.  I searched in the garage and looked in the chicken house and the horse barn and the alpaca building by the garage.  And even odder was I heard nothing.  No scratching, no burbling.  I did not want to call the chickens because the hawk was still in the tree and I did not want them to come out of hiding, so I went into the house and worked on making some noodles.  After an hour or so I went out and  4 of the chickens came out of hiding in the granary near the road and came running and flapping across the yard to me.  I went out to the horse barn again and called to the chickens and 5 more came out from under the hay baler in the poly-shelter and one came out of the horse barn.  Now I had looked in all these places and those chickens had been so quiet I could not even tell they were there.

Anyway, at dusk when I shut the chicks in the hen house, there were only 10.  The 11th was found early Saturday morning.  I had walked right by her several times, but had been scanning the sky for the hawk and not looking in the ditch for a hen.  The hawk had come back after dark and fed on her and scattered feathers everywhere, making it easy to find her. 

 Sunday morning, the hawk was back and but the chickens were still in hiding.  Did not see him again until yesterday morning.  The chicks are sticking close to shelter.  Hopefully the hawk will find easier feeding elsewhere.  

And speaking of birds, Sam turned the car around the other day on the way home from work and took a photo of this guy.  This is not a usual sight in Monroe County.  It would be cool if it were.

I have been working on getting my frames put together for my new bee hive.  I ordered 50 of them and need 20 to get started by the time the bees arrive in 2 weeks.  They have to be assembled from all these pieces

into these wooden frames that will hang in the bee boxes that Sam is building.  There will be 10 to a box

Once the wooden frames are glued and nailed together, wire is strung for added strength and then the beeswax foundation that the bees will draw out into comb is added and the frames are ready.  The first frame took forever, but I have 20 nailed together and 10 wired.  I will finish wiring this weekend and then put in the wax.  Hopefully I will have boxes to paint by then.

I dyed another pound of my alpaca/wool roving this week.  The color in this photo is not real good.  It is actually more blue than grey.  I need to dye at least a pound of roving or yarn every week for the next several weeks to get ready for the Upper Valley Fiber Festival in Troy Ohio in May. 


I have almost finished a  quick knit shawl out of some yarn I purchased because it was just so cool.  It is called Colorshift Yarn from a dyer on  and no, it is not alpaca!  But I just had to have some.  The dyer sends you 8 skeins of yarn that shift from one color to a totally different color.  Wow!  My plan is to finish the shawl today and block it so you can see how gorgeous it is next week.  It is hard to see on the needles.  

1 comment:

  1. Ummmmm.....since hawks are federally protected, its not cool to talk about shooting them. SSS