Annmarie called me while I was at work this week to let me know she had done a chicken count. I lost two more hens. I need to lose the rooster, he is expendable. The predators have figured out that the human door doesn't latch very well and pops open on occasion. We had noticed it over the last few weeks but had not seen any predators. Just before I left for work, Zeke got sprayed by a skunk in our front yard. I figured it was coming around for a chicken snack. He had to spend the night out on the run, (being kennel trained he made quite a bit of ruckus about spending the night on the run and he kept barking at all the animals). So it is most likely a skunk. I hate skunks, there is no good way to dispose of them without them spraying. It always smells. I definitely need to get the trap setup.
We have seen coyotes during the day on two separate occasions in the last week. Of course, I had no gun. So now every time I leave the house to fence I carry a rifle. I am currently using the .17 HMR. It is good for 200 yards. If I have trouble due to distances then I will switch over to the .243. Fencing has become a priority again. The sheep have been running all over the countryside. We let them out to eat on the main pasture and of course they went straight to the holes in the fence and went out onto the road. The neighbors have been chasing them off the road and calling my mother-in-law. I went up onto the hillside to work on fence last night and spent a couple of hours digging the weeds out of the fence so I could see the fence. I still have another 100 yards of fence to clean up. I was doing it all by hand, but I intend on using the pitchfork today. Once it is all cleaned up I can fix it and tighten it. I need to add one or two more rows to keep the sheep in. We are also going to subdivide the hill so we can let the sheep out sooner. That will give me more time to get the upper fence fixed. The upper fence is a very big job. There is a lot of fence to fix.
Yesterday we let the horses and cows out into the area in front of the houses. The horses came out and grazed around. I thought this was a great idea as the front area is not sheep safe and my mother-in-law's roses take a beating when the sheep get into her yard. This morning at "0 dark thirty" Annmarie says to me "I remember why we cannot have the horses out there, they eat cars". I almost leaped off the bed in a state of panic. She was absolutely right! The pickup has scratch marks in the paint and so does my tractor. Luckily, this morning the horses were in the barn lot and I shut the gate. I don't want bite marks on the cars.