I wish I already knew how to shoot the .22.
We showed my son the coyotes out the kitchen window a while back, explained the difference between nice dogs like Grandpa’s and these bold boys. He now tromps around the farm gesturing and hollering NO COYOTE, NO! and can often be observed teaching our cat to do the same.
It must be working; he’s the only barn cat who’s avoided becoming lunch.
A decade of having this over-grown haven mostly to themselves has made them brazen. They stroll up to the barn in the middle of the day like they own the place, help themselves to a chicken, and off they go.
I feel better knowing it’s not just my chickens keeping them fed; there are piles of feathers and bones all over our side field, only one of which could have come from my sad brown hens.
Saturday afternoon found the hubby out in the back woods, tracking the coyote superhighways running through our property. We found molehills littered with paw prints, big and small, tiny drops of blood on fallen leaves, feathers feathers feathers, grey fur caught in brambles.
Trails. So many trails.
We are 90% sure they have a den on our property, somewhere in the thick brambles along a fence line. A stone’s throw from the barn. From what we can see of the tracks, they seem to have young. Gah.
We need a dog. A few dogs. And better fencing. Mostly we need to catch the buggers.
The coyotes are not the only bold ones on this farm. My 20 month old son would happily traverse the fields on his own if I let him, sometimes when I don’t let him, too. I am terrified he will disappear behind the barn and look like lunch.
We make lots of noise while we work outside. I’m sure my neighbours think I’m crazy.
It’s funny . . . I think about all the articles I read in magazines like Mother Earth News about managing predators, and how they always solicit lots of angry, philosophical letters in response.
It’s easy to be philosophical about killing if you, your animals and your family are in no danger of being lunch.
Something about seeing a huge, healthy predator stroll by your kitchen door at 1 in the afternoon and finding what’s left of your livestock in the fields has a way of making one see the world from a more pragmatic point of view.
Anyway. I’m on my way to becoming a real life farm girl. I held my first dead chicken, am learning how to track and have suddenly found myself completely over my aversion to the idea of shooting one of these buggers.