This morning as I was cleaning window sills on the west side of the house, the large Redtailed Hawk swooped down and got a rabbit or squirrel, I wasn’t quite sure which as it was just in the edge of the thicket and disappeared deeper into the thicket as the flock of crows gathered above raising quite a stir. I never saw the hawk reappear and the crows moved to another tree higher above the thicket and stayed there for a very long while. Squirrels and rabbits are fair game for the hawks, my chickens are not, though when penned in their run, they are certainly easier to catch.
After lunch and bit of warm up in daily temperatures, to a point where working without gloves though uncomfortable, was doable, the run cover was finished alone. The need to work without gloves was to manipulate the 8″ cable ties though the web of the erosion fence to secure the sections together and to the upper edge of the 4′ high wire fence. The green plastic erosion fence has 1″ octagonal holes and each strip is 3 feet wide, stapled to the upper edge of the coop and angled down to the fence top. Once the strips were in place, the triangular spaces at the gate and the east side had to be filled with smaller pieces, the top of the metal gate closed in as well so chickens can’t get out and the hawk can’t get in. Though their run footprint is smaller now, it is still an L shape about 4 feet wide on the east, 5 feet wide on the south and open under the 4 X 8 foot coop that has had welded wire from the bottom of the coop to the ground since it was put there about a decade ago.
The chickens are out for the first time in two days. Once the shrubs are leafed out again so there are places to hide, they will get free range time, but living in the midst of hayfields, there aren’t many hiding places for them in the winter.
Some of the old fence from the larger footprint run was used to put a deer barrier around the young plum tree and with heavier T posts to fasten the fence to, the plum was pulled more erect. In it’s first year of so of being planted there, the deer chewed off the primary leader, so a secondary branch took over and shoots out too far to the side. I have hoped to redirect it more vertically and if it doesn’t work, the top will be pruned back to force more side branches out. There is a lot of new growth and I don’t want it chewed on anymore. When the spring gardening supplies come in, a weed ring is going to be purchased to put around the trunk to try to get the grass load around the plum down.
Day before yesterday in the freezing rain, the first turkeys seen since hunting season were in the two lower fields. I could count 19, but with the growth along the fence line and the rock pile, there may have been more.
One more day of semi mild weather, followed by rain and possible snow flurries on the weekend.