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There Were Feathers Everywhere!

We have to take one day at a time, because we don't want to worry about the days ahead. We just do the basics and let the Lord take care of the rest. Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

After insulating the coop and going through our first freeze together, I wanted to check on the chickens. Joe let them out of the coop before going to church, but he kept them behind the electrical fence and turn it on, until we got back. So after church I went to check on them only to find, white feathers everywhere by the fence. Mr or Mrs. Leghorn?! Only three chickens were in the coop and no others visible.

They were in an electrical fence, how could this be? Something must have scared them into flight out of the fence and running for cover.

After investigating we found them in the woods, hiding from whatever predator tried to attack them. Mrs leghorn was found between two piles of pallets, petrified and with a few less feathers but still in tact for the most part.

We had already lost one from a hawk and another just died overnight a month ago. We obtained a few more birds since then, so now we have ten. It was now apparent we have a problem we need to address or we won't have any chickens.

Joe and I watched the birds in the sky, circling, waiting. Two hawks being run off by crows, and a few buzzards came by later to see if there were any remains from the days events.

Thinking we saw the worst. As Joe and I were sitting at the kitchen table we saw a hawk swoop down on the chickens. With all of our sore joints, aches and pains we instantly got better and ran out of the door to protect our flock. Once again, the chickens scattered and hid. It took a while before we could find them. But this time we could only find 9 of our 10 chickens. It seems the littlest one "Ora" was captured, as we could not find her anywhere.

Someone asked my why I named my chickens. It would make it difficult to process them when the time came. I told them it was our way of identifying the animals and a way of remembering their breed. Ora (Orpington), Mr and Mrs Leghorn. Audry (Australorp), Missy 1 and 2 for mixed breed or "we don't know", etc.

Someone once told us to leave food down for the crows so they would be around more often to scare off the buzzards and the chicken hawks. That sounds like a good idea, except what happens when we want to grow corn? How do I keep the crows from eating it if we invite them to a daily corn dinner.

After watching what seemed like, "wild kingdom" taking place in our backyard, we decided to search the net for solutions on protecting our flock from flying predators. Some people put strings across the top of the coop, some a scarecrow with bird deterrent strips. Some kept their chickens in top to bottom electrical fences. But one man put up bird deterrent strips and cds/dvds on a string hanging from trees, giving explanations as to why it works. We have used these strips before to keep birds from landing on a light fixture at our front door and they do work. The multi colored shiny strips confuse the birds depth perception and they fly upward and away instead of down.

So we decided that we would put the strips and old cds/dvds we had in a box ready to go to salvation army, to use.

With such a traumatic day the birds decided to put themselves in the coop at sundown. We usually have to coerce them into the coop by shaking corn and oats inside of a plastic bucket while chanting "here chicky, chicky, chicky". Today was an easy day.

As usual, I take a head count when I think all are in the coop. Joe asked me, what are you going to do when we have 20 or more chickens? I told him, pray they are all there.

I counted ten! But Ora is missing, I must have miss counted.

Because of the cold weather, I put another nesting box in the coop, packed with hay. One big enough to hold at least four birds snugly. There was a chicken in that box. Though I could not lift the top to see who exactly was in the nesting box, because the other ladies were sitting on top of it, I could see tail and legs and it looked like Ora's tail. After counting at least three more times, I concluded, Ora must have been in that box the entire time and too petrified to come out when all others were foraging.

Lord willing, I will wake up in the morning to find little Ora in tact.

We must take one day at a time because, only the Lord knows what tomorrow brings.

Matthew 6: 25-34 my favorite scripture.