This afternoon I heard the chickens scream.
The puppy started barking. Maybe because of the poultry panic. Or maybe because of me jumping into action.
We rushed to the compound.
The cacophony grew more frantic as we got closer – chickens, goose, duck all joined in.
Then as I reached the gate, there it was. A guilty looking buzzard flew up from a clump of nettles with feathers in its beak.
The goose was shouting and screaming, the duck was flapping its wings trying to look big.
They were doing their job as best they could to frighten away the aerial predators.
So far they have been successful. Before goose and duck arrived we regularly lost hens to the buzzards. But since their arrival the negative score has been zero.
Today, though it looked like they had met their match. After a through sweep of the compound I could not locate our fifth hen.
Only an ominous scattering of bunches of white feathers.
Farewell Mrs Hen, you served us well.
But hold fire before you book the funeral band.
When I returned this evening to put them all to bed, the hens again numbered five.
All hail the hiding hen. Somewhere she had gone to ground too scared to come out.
Too traumatised I think. On close inspection the hen appears to have lost a few rips of feathers from its neck.
This time she got lucky – saved by the goose’s guarding, or perhaps by my arrival.
Happy hen day.
We are investigating getting one or two alpacas soon.
I know they are reputed to be good for deterring foxes.
Anyone know if they will keep buzzards and kites away as well?