Welcome to my blog. I am a young, self-taught artist from the Gulf Coast, who wants to provide pyrographic artwork that sends a clear strong message. Please take time to look through my pages and posts. I appreciate comments, love making new friends, and covet faithful followers. Shout hello if you know me, or are just passing through.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Roaming Predators

        A couple weeks ago I purchased five little pullets from a neighbor lady who allows her thirty-something chickens to free range over her six acres.  So far, I've lost two, one to my own error...the other to a mysterious predator.  The first one, was lost during a heavy rain when I received faulty information down the line that the run gate was shut but the coop door was open.  "Well, it's raining hard, they'll be alright.  We've left the door open a dozen times before and nothing's happened."  The next morning I leap out of bed as my little eight year old brother nudges me and says, "Laurisa, something got the chicken, it took it, one is missing!"  Keeping a cool head, as previous months I might have grabbed a K-bar knife, a loaded gun and taken off to the woods in search of my little lost lamb, I went out to investigate.  My sisters whispered in their beds, "See, didn't we tell her something would happen!"  When I went out I determined that the prints in the sand were either skunk, armadillo, or fox...or...something...they were small, only three visible pads pressed into the grains of sand.  After more searching I found some prints that were clearly cat-like!"  The only consolation I got out of the event was that only one had been slaughtered apart from 2009's slaughtering of all 7 of my 10 birds by a dog. 
             Apologizing to my terrified birds for my carelessness, I bought two more of similar age which did okay fitting in with the others.  Okay...they still peck each other but when free-ranging the bullying isn't so bad.  That weekend, after coming back after Orchestra rehearsal I found that my family had let them out to free-range again, and the kids had played around them...and one was mysteriously missing.  For the following three days I looked for feathers...any sign of a feather, and found none.  It was most puzzling and saddening.  Although I cannot prove that the neighbors' cats or dogs had anything to do with the last incident, I can prove that they've played a big part in the previous murder of 8 of my chickens.  It happened over Thanksgiving...I was spending a wonderful time with my cousins and aunts and uncles...my 10 gorgieous babbies were locked away in their  run.  Their coop is a fortress by the way.  When we returned home from church and eating a wonderful meal at Golden Corral, we returned to find this murdering dog laying happily amognst the mutilated bodies of our three roosters and seven hens.  The chickens were all still alive, but so wounded they couldn't move.  The dog had litereally pulled the chicken wire loose of it's staples with his teeth, dug pits all around the coop (we had metal sheeting deep in the ground to prevent his getting father) and then, sliding under the pulled chicken wire, had thouroughly enjoyed himself.  Dad had to end the lives of Ferrgie and Popcorn and the other hens.  In all, three hens made it through the entire ordeal. We lost one rooster to blood poisoning a day later.  The hens had bruised backs, hurt legs, and were traumatized for weeks.  We kept them in the house because the dogs returned to the coop and began digging all around it.  I dealt with cleaning matted poop off their bum feathers and collecting soft shell-less eggs off the newspapers, and swore up and down I'd have the hides of the dog who brought a few friends back to the crime scene with him.  I delivered them all to the pound several weeks later.
      People know to love their cats and their dogs- but to love a chicken?!  Why that's absurd.  Loved or not, a chicken is valuable livestock, and I have a point to make here.  Cats and Dogs are predators by nature!  We take them from their hunting life and feed them Kibbles and Iams and all this mushy processed food that gives them cancer.  And then we let them out of the house to roam.  And you cannot keep them from leaving your 1/4 acre property unless you've fenced it to keep them home.  Your dog or cat is allowed to roam the greater part of the neighborhood and returns late at night or early in the morning without giving you account of all the yards he's turned into a latrine, or the superstitious peoples they've crossed paths with, or any other damaging crime they've committed.  While down the road, perhaps you are completely unaware that a livestock owner lives in the neighborhood, your animal has made an early breakfast of someones chicken.  No wonder they turn up their nose at their bowls and whine for the table food.  That animal, left your property, trespassed on someone else's property and committed murder or attempted murder on that neighbor's property.  That neighbor's animals never left their owner's property.  It's likely they were even in a pen of their own.  The law says that dogs must be kept on a leash!  I rest my case. 
        Dogs do not kill to eat.  The hawks, owls, raccoons, and other critters are wild and will fill their bellies.  They are not killers.  As much as I love well-bred  trained dogs, I must stay that they are domesticated killers.  I do what is necessary to protect my chickens.  But I have lost way too many chickens to neighborhood cats and dogs.  To the man with forty cats six houses down...please be responsible for your animals and fix them.  Not only that, but it's impossible to keep forty cats on 1/8 of an acre. 
      Responsibility for all your predator animals needs to be as high as the responsibility livestock owners have in fencing and protecting their animals.  Please, make an effort.

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