Tragic Loss (Warning, graphic photo at bottom)

We are now seeking balance in our farm model. For so long we had little to no problems with predators and now it’s as if war has been declared. I had decided that allowing the broiler chickens to have free access to the pasture was best. We provided shelter and fenced them in with electric netting. After we moved out most recent batch out to the pasture, The hawks found an easy buffet. At first we didn’t know they were being preyed upon since the hawks could fly off with these small birds. We got them closed up in chicken tractors and the hawks would perch on top and just look at them. But then we started finding birds out on the pasture that apparently had been pulled out through a gap between the base of the tractor and the ground. We would also find birds dead with a leg eaten off while it was still inside or I would find birds with such grievous wounds that I would have to dispatch them. This has been a really tough year between all the chicken losses and switching to organic feed. Here’s hoping that we will see a strong finish with our last batch of birds this November.


Free Range Chicken

Chickens in a tractor

Pastured Poultry in a tractor.

I found this one pulled halfway under the tractor.

I found this one pulled halfway under the tractor.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I’m SO sorry! This is really heart-breaking! It makes you sick to see your birds suffer or die a frightful death, on top of the financial loss.

    We’ve had a hawk stalking us although he didn’t get any chickens since they’re in the barnyard, but we couldn’t let our little Sheltie puppies out in the yard unless someone was with them, until they got heavy enough a hawk couldn’t carry them off. It makes the whole SSS really tempting, doesn’t it? I couldn’t believe our Great Pyrenees LGD didn’t go after the hawk, but then it didn’t actually attack any chickens, so maybe she didn’t think it was a predator.



  2. Posted by Mark on November 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Raccoons and coyotes, and sometimes Fox will extricate fowl through gaps in fencing and crack in the foundation. They yank them right through. You need to attend to this with live traps or a patrol in the evening using definitive and humane riflery. I’m sorry your stock has suffered.



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