Posts tagged ‘4H’

Coyote Carnage

Just when I’m supposed to be hitting the books, as in taxes, the chickens started literally screaming bloody murder this morning. Sure enough, the coyotes we’ve seen lurking for weeks made a hit. 4 of my sons 8 chickens are confirmed dead and one is missing. Because of where we live, we haven’t been able to get a safe, clear shot.

Free range isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 35 chickens over 5-6 years would squawk about that… if they could. We started out with a small coop and letting our chickens free range. Then we went to a large coop and letting them free range during the day.  After losing chickens steadily, we remodeled and moved the small coop into a fenced yard.  We are in the process of taking down a large hoop house that was damaged in the wind to redo. It worked well for awhile, but the ones that flew out of the yard were still getting picked off.

This morning the coyote must have dug under, though I don’t see any obvious spots, or he jumped a 4 1/2 foot fence! Either way, my son lost half his remaining flock and is very down. He got his gun and went hunting but they were long gone.

Well, tomorrow morning bright and early, we will be ready with bait in the form of the dead chickens and a .308 rifle!

Please do not rant to me about coyotes being harmless or getting a bad rap till you’ve had to comfort your son losing his prize birds and worrying about them attacking your horse or cows. I don’t shoot anything, including snakes, unless they infringe on the boundaries of safety. Well, Wile E., you stepped over the line.

Illegal Activities???

A recent proposed ruling from the Department of Labor would make it illegal for children to participate in many day to day activities on farms and ranches, as well as potentially 4H and FFA. Children wouldn’t be able to be around large animals or up higher than six feet for starters. All of the following activities that are boys enjoy would be illegal. We purchased the ranch in part to impart values to our children of how to work hard, the rewards of that work, responsibility, and good stewardship of the land and animals we are blessed with for companionship, work, and food. Safety and age appropriateness is always on our mind. We cherish the time with our kids and working together to achieve a family goal and dream. Daniel already wants to ranch when he’s grown. If this ruling goes into effect, many of our activities would be curtailed, if not altogether stopped. How does this affect you? Well, for starters, it will be even harder to teach kids a love of the land and how to live on it, which would translate into even less family farms. You won’t be able to hire that school kid to mow your grass because they’ll be using power equipment (don’t know anybody who wants to use a push mower do you?). Please consider contacting the DOL with your concerns and check out the website keepfamiliesfarming.com.