Predators are a fact of life on the farm. After returning from the Farmer’s Market on Saturday I went out to the henhouse to check on things and found a hawk eating one of our hens. Infuriating.
It’s interesting that my first reaction in that situation is never sadness. It’s always anger. Sadness comes later.
I’ve read blog posts from farmers and homesteaders who write off such things as a cost of living with nature. They say they’re willing to share their chickens with the hawks.
To my way of thinking, hawks are impressive creatures, but not when they’re eating our chickens. I’m happy for them to have all the rabbits and field mice they want, but I’m not willing to let them kill and eat our chickens.
We actively resist the predators on this farm, with varying degrees of success. I believe when we take domesticated animals under our care we assume an obligation to protect them. So we do.
We’ve lost chickens to hawks, foxes, snakes, stray dogs, hunting dogs and probably other things. We’ve lost kids to coyotes. Our guineas were wiped out by owls.
Predators are a fact of life here. But on this farm preying on our animals will always entail risk to the predator.