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Predators week!


This last week has obviously been the week for predators as we have been visited by several.
A fortnight ago our peacocks and the two guinea fowl were creating such a racket that I went to investigate down on the field. The chickens which have the free range of the field during the day were mostly huddled near the field gate, two of the peacocks perched high and hooting like mad and the guinea fowl cackling and dashing about. As I got to the gate the g.f. dashed up the field and stood together facing the hawthorn hedge so that I knew there was a fox about! I walked up the field peering under the hedge as I went as you can sometimes see it the other side of the fencing, along the ditch edge. One lone chicken (the largest of course) was standing in the field and as I got towards her the fox ran from under the hedge towards her. He got to within three feet of her before seeing me and dashing back. The chicken of course took off running for the field gate and the rest of the chickens – bit late I thought! Couldn’t find where the fox got in or out!
Back to last week which started with being woken by a terrible screaming outside, close to the bedroom window, which went on and on. Eventually I got up at 2.45am to see if I could see anything, but of course not! I think this was the stoat catching one of the baby rabbits which visit and munch my garden, only rabbits scream like that!
The next night I was again woken at about 4am but screeching noises which sounded like something fighting, animal not bird.
The following day the Blackbirds were giving their alarm call, so out I go to see what the problem was and the Sparrowhawk took off from the hedge, closely chased by the Blackbird. It obviously came back as a couple of days later there were grey feathers on the lawn. Panicing that they could be from the baby Little owls from the nest box in the garden, I got the tall ladder to go up and look. Luckily on opening the little door gingerly there are two Little owl babies (or three) inside perched on a heap of sticks and the stench from the slime,excrement and left-overs was almost over-powering! Still, good they are still OK and the parents have been seen since.

To top that, first thing the next day looking out of the kitchen window while waiting for the kettle to boil, I discovered that we had three Heron’s on the side of the pond, two plastic and one real! He took off when I moved and hopefully before he helped himself. A few plant pots might now discourage him from trying to land.
Friday came with another visit from the fox, this time taking one of the old battery hens and tucking it under one of the trees. I walking the field boundary outside and the only small space I found was where a piece of the wire had been bent making a hole about 5″ × 7″, so having wired that up again, hopefully that will be it.
The chickens had been visited by a rat which every night burrowed under the chicken food tray and fed on the scattered food which ended up there. One morning I lifted the tray and found the rat lying there! So it was dig the space a bit bigger, bait the trap, put the heavy tin tray back and yippee! caught him!
How many more predators can this bit of ground support? I know they all have to live, but a break would be good!

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Wow, what en eventful couple weeks you have. Sounds like your plot is being assaulted from every angle possible. I hope all is OK. Can you get a shotgun? Sometimes firing off a couple rounds into the air will keep things sane for a few days.

22 Jun, 2015


Sounds like a wildlife park you have as well as a garden Honey, not sure I'd like to hear the screaming at night but the rest sounds grand....

23 Jun, 2015


I hope you can have a break from it all now :) It must be making you weary ! :( ...

23 Jun, 2015


Thanks Bathgate, Lincslass and Hywel for your comments. Bathgate - The shotgun sounds good but would only make the peacocks go into yowling mode - they hate any noises - especially sudden loud ones. It was horrendous when we had a bird-scarer on the field next door - every time it went off so did the peacocks!
Lincslass - most of the noises are good ones, I get a lot of my exercise from dashing in and out to see what the Blackbirds are giving their alarm call for - who needs to go to the gym?
Hywel - A break would be good, but doesn't look as if it's coming. The chickens are disconsolate and I am staying clear of their run (it's huge so they shouldn't complain) as they all watch you with beady eyes and dash towards the gate thinking you are going to let them out. Sadly they will have to stay in for now as I know at least one more of their number has disappeared. There was a sitting hen amongst the nettles and thistles close to the chicken run, I didn't know how long she had been there sitting, so left her. Shouldn't have done because now both she and her eggs are gone.
Just to cap it all, I went out to the local gardening club last night and came home to find my Ring-neck Parakeet acting really weird and not perching properly. Too late for the vet last night at 10.30pm and sadly this morning he had died - I was OK until I was washing his bell to put away - and it rang!!!
Can only get better.

24 Jun, 2015


Ohh I am so sorry about your Parakeet.
In a way it's nice to have happy memories, but then sad also to know your pet isn't around any more :(

24 Jun, 2015


wow that is a lot of predators but I found a tiny one yesterday. a parasitic wasp laying an egg in a lily beetle larva that I had missed. I have left it to suffer at the hands of the wasp.

24 Jun, 2015


Thanks Hywel, someone on one of the blogs said you weren't keen on birds so I appreciate your kind words, whether keen or not a pet is a pet and you get attached! We re-homed him for someone who's OH had died and she found the house too full of memories to stay there much but didn't want the bird lonely. We had him for about 5-6 years and adored him though he was a bit doo-lally and not quite the ticket I think! He leg ring was dated '96 so he was about 19, not bad I think for one of these.
For Seaburn, I should think that you had a bit of (guilty?) satisfaction finding the wasp doing it's thing to one the Lily Beetles, let's hope it succumbs before it does much damage. Strangely though I found (and killed) a few early on, the other Lilies a bit further away are fine and in full bud, perhaps the squashed red bits on the stones put them off!

25 Jun, 2015


Yes Honeysuckle, I have a phobia of birds, but that isn't their fault - it's mine...
And as you say a pet is a pet ...

27 Jun, 2015

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