The Year I quit keeping birds (2019)Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


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The Year I quit keeping birds (2019)
 


30 November 2019 at 1:05:17 PM
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I enjoy having a variety of birds around, and have had chickens, guineas, ducks, and geese for some years. Living in the country with a lot of predators around, my timeline has been filled with trying this or that to protect the birds from being eaten by raccoons, or snakes. I found with trial and error that the only full proof way to protect the birds at night was to lock them up in a house at night that had no chinks, even small ones, through which something could crawl or move. At one point I read that raccoons have flat heads and can get through small spaces. My fed x driver told me one year that even having the birds in a protected chicken wire fence couldn't prevent a raccoon from getting through and snapping off their heads (Oh, believe me, I have heard all kinds of horrific stories). There was also attrition to the flocks due to allowing them to free range during the day rather than keeping them cooped. Another difficulty with having birds that you lock up at night and then let out in the morning is if you must be out of town for any reason, you have to have someone who will agree to do that work. I had a good friend that lived on my street and I watched her animals while she watched mine, but she moved to another state. 

 Over time the only birds I had left were one duck and about 10 assorted geese. The year before one of my neighbors told me she had seen a mountain lion on the edge of our adjoining properties and, indeed I lost some geese and ducks that year. I"m not the only one on the street to lose poultry; one of my neighbors told me that her camara picked up a bobcat that killed at least one of her birds. Another neighbor said he had seen the bobcat cross the road into our woods. Adding to that is that it seemed like the coyote pack count had gone up and I envisioned coyotes running through the yard looking for prey.

Hub decided to scoop out the yard pond during a very hot dry part of the summer. WE had another smaller pond but it occurred to me in retrospect that a determined predator might be able to chase off the birds without enough pond for them to escape. The one remaining duck and geese decided to go down the driveway and ended up at a neighbor across the street that had a pond area. I had a very difficult time getting them to remain in the yard, and again, this was during the time that people had seen the roving bobcat. I felt awkward about them being on someone else's property so of course I communicated with the neighbor about the issue; they were very nice to allow it for that temporary time. What I hoped was that when the larger pond was done, they would come back or I could get them back. The pond was restored but they didn't return and then we were not around for a bit. During that time, a few remaining geese disappared and one that was left showed up at a different neighbor across the street and attempting to use their swimming pool. I had no way at that point to rescue the bird.

When we did return home. all the geese were gone. I checked with the neighbor to see if maybe they really had taken up permanent residence across the street, but nope. 

The worst thing about having birds that disappear is wondering why they did. We don't have a wildlife camera, so a disappearance is simply mysterious. Did the bobcat get them over time? Did coyotes? Did raccoons? I simply don't know.

What I do know is that I'm pretty well done having birds at all. I enjoy them tremendously but I don't want any more heartache over losing them. 

 


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