Last week we had a sad, and scary, day at Pronkin’ Pastures. We lost one of our hens to an eagle. Her name was ‘Fancy Pants’. Fancy was a pretty white Brahma – a breed of chicken that has feathers on their feet. Her feathered feet reminded me of bell bottom pants of the 70’s, thus the name ‘Fancy Pants’.
When we first got our chickens we made them a coop and a small covered run. But it wasn’t long at all before the chickens scratched up all of the grass in the run and were left with a boring bare dirt enclosure.
The chickens began looking longingly at the grass in the small adjacent alpaca paddock, and we felt sorry for them. So we decided to let them go out into the paddock to ‘stretch their wings’ and do a bit of 'free - ranging'.
We hoped that the area was small enough, and close enough to 2 buildings that our chickens would still be safe.
We have been lucky for quite some time, especially as our hens have ventured out further and further from their intended area - happily scooting under fences and between fence posts, scratching and clucking away.
But last week luck ran out.... A bald eagle landed in there! Right in the littlest of our alpaca paddocks! Our little hens ran for their covered area and into their coop, but this eagle was persistent and followed our little hen - on foot - right into the ‘safe’ enclosed area.
The eagle was busy when Ron went out for evening chores. The rest of the girls made it into their coop, and Ron quickly shut and locked the door, but poor Fancy made it only to the covered run. The whole thing was ugly.
Poor Fancy feathers everywhere... And you definitely don't want to see Fancy...
and an unhappy eagle in an extra large 'cage'.
While the eagle entered the chicken pen easily enough, he didn't have a good understanding of how to get back out....
He paced back and forth, but it took him several attempts to find either of the 2 open gates.
Just a tiny turn to the left and he'd be out of there!
Finally, he 'gets' it...
And off he goes....
The alpacas watch the whole ordeal from a distance. The whole incident has an effect on the chickens, the alpacas and us.... This is an experience we hope never to repeat.
About the author:
Always an animal lover, alpacas entered my life in 2005.
I enjoy all aspects of life with alpacas - from caring for them, to training them, spinning and knitting their wonderful fiber, photographing them, and even writing about them!