our little wildlife haven

Posted by in farm, gardening

what an exciting day at the homestead.

it’s a little earlier than we had hoped, but due to circumstances out of our control, our 5-week-old chickens are now free range. after rounding them up for the 27th time on sunday and yesterday, we just decided to let them have at it. their little makeshift pen wasn’t doing it for them anymore, and since they’ve now got tail feathers, they’re about twice as big as they were last week…they need the extra room.

and they love it. they wander around and around and under the coop, eating grass, pecking at bugs. they go hide when rowan and sawyer come running, but come when the adults find them with hands full of food. eventually, rowan and sawyer will treat them with respect, right?

also this morning, our baby robins were dumped out of their nest. at first we thought it was an accident, but my mom, who was visiting, assured us that this is what mama robins do with thei babies, and it’s completely natural. BUT THEY’RE ONLY ONE WEEK OLD!!! apparently, she was right. we found two of the three babies hopping around the garden (i held off on watering for about half an hour until they were out of the garden) and mama and papa hopping around the yard chirping at them to follow them into the woods across the street (and at us to stay the heck away from their babies!). i guess papa robin spent the past two weeks looking for their new home, since this is the first i’ve seen him.

at one point, one of the babies was stuck in the middle of the road. you can imagine that at one week old, they’re not walking very fast. kenny actually stopped traffic (all of the one car that past our house in that half hour period) to keep the baby robin safe. we think the other robin made it across the road since there is no evidence on the road of its demise, and it is not in our yard any more.

then we looked up and saw two hawks flying overhead. for the first time since fall. we ran over to the chicken coop and left the boys there to play with the chickens. perhaps hawks won’t swoop where there are children at play.

as i was walking back i happened to look down under the grapevine where the original robin’s nest was and noticed a black coiled stripey “rope” that happened to be a snake. i ran in the house, pulled kenny away from his work yet again to tell him about it. i knew he want to show the boys. he tried to grab it, but it slithered away into some tall grass. or our peonies.

we’re wondering if the garter snake is the reason behind the mysterious absence of the third baby robin. does anyone know for sure if garters eat baby birds?

hawks, snakes, and wild cars on the road…the real culprits of small farm animal deaths.