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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Who Gives a Hoot?

Tonight is the night before.

The night before the "Blue Moon"

I first realized this back on the 2nd day of December with a flashlight in my hand and my head stuck in a chicken coop counting.

Counting hens because something very bad was going on...

I was losing hens.

Late in the afternoon, silent and swift, with no warning.

Very alarming.

So as I was locking them all in for the night I pondered exactly which predator was my culprit?


You look pretty sleek and happy.

Is it what I feed you AND the fact that you sleep 18 hours a day OR is there something you want to tell me? Hmm?

A snake?

Not likely as they are all burrowed away for winter.

Dixie Dawg?

The one my son bought in a mini mart parking lot for $50.00 convinced he was getting a red nosed Pit Bull?

You little half breed you!

You, who is the only dog whose bark we can rely on to be about something other than a leaf blowing across the yard.

You who sleeps outside through hurricanes and frosts and refuses to come inside - no matter what.

You who trains the other dogs and "sets the bark" for the whole pack that lives here.

Did you eat a hen Dixie?

You look innocent but then again so did O.J.

In fact, isn't that one of the hallmarks of a really good criminal? Their ability to look innocent?


So in the intervening days between the last full moon at the beginning of December and the rare occasion of a full moon at the end of the same month I have lost 4 hens. I am watching the ones that remain extra close now.

It isn't the dogs.

I m sure.

Its something silent and swift that leaves no chicken feathers behind and no sign that a crime has been committed.

But what?

Tonight I carefully tucked my 4 remaining hens and my beleaguered rooster in the hen house and looked up at the moon...

We have a rain forecast for tomorrow night (the actual BLUE MOON) so I took a few pics just in case our "Blue Moon is covered with rain.

Very low riding moon - very so so pictures.

I tried again later, about 11 o'clock.

I kept moving around the yard trying to capture this dim moon against a stormy sky.

It took a while for my mind to register the soft "hoot hoot"

and the answering "hoot hoot " coming from the woods across the road.


Owls in my yard.

So close that when my shutter snapped they fell silent.

Watching me.

Me unable to see them but hearing the soft "hoot hoot" as they called back and forth.

There must be a nest nearby, no self respecting owl would think to hunt for chickens in the dead of darkness. Chickens are "roosting" long before that.

The one hooting from far away must be hunting and the one close by must be guarding.

That brings us back to the possibility of a nearby nest.

Somewhere around this tree.

Tomorrow in the dead of day I will look.

The hunter is about to be hunted.


  1. Ok I am glad I didn't look at these pictures at night, alone. You know what a scaredy cat I am. The owls here are out more so than in the past. Their calls are spooky too.

    Do you have raccoons there? We have had quite the time here in MO with raccoons and chickens, I mean an epidemic.

    I would never ever believe your sweet dogs would do it. I mean look at their faces....They have me fooled don't they?

    Happy New Year.

  2. LOL!

    Gotta watch those sweet faces dont we!

    I have heard racoons are awful to deal with if you have chickens. Do they leave body parts laying behind when they attack?

    Whatever this is takes the whole chicken - not so much as a feather left behind!

    Good to see you JW!


  3. Wow, Very 'gothic' pics! I wonder that hunter.Leave the chickens in peace you naughty thing!! :)

    Happy new years. Loves.

  4. Indie,

    Without going into detail, yes they do horrible things to chickens. I know at least a dozen people who have had the worst time this year with the masked bandits. My sister has chickens and is always catching racoons trying to get into the pen.

    Racoons would most likely leave something. I will ask Tammy and get back to you. Have you considered people? Do you have them locked up?


  5. In Oklahoma we have coyotes. They are awful and will stalk small dogs and cats. One attacked our Jack Russell Terrier on Main Street. They are very smart and cunning and our JR would go after the coyote. They would lead the dog out further and further from the house and eventually would turn and attack if there were no people around. Poor dog could not go out of the house except on a leash.

  6. "the hunter is about to be hunted" .. I really enjoyed reading it.. you sure makes a good story teller :)

    back to the hunter.. the 1st suspect from my opinion would be a FOX ... Foxes are really so smart ... I saw a documentary film about them n how they can hunt chickens from a farm n run away n how they can fool dogs whom were chasing them. I was impressed ....

    if you want to freak me out just bring your Dixie Dawg .. I'll just freeze up heheheee he/she looks ready to bite

  7. forgot to say

    I loved the moon shots... especially the 3rd from the bottom ...

  8. I just stopped back, hoping for an update. Was it the owls? I hope you didn't lose the hen with the pedicure!

    Great photos, that moon was gorgeous that night.

  9. Hi All!

    I still have the hen with the pedicure AND Turkey Lurky (my two favorites).

    As for the "hunters" I havent heard the owls anymore and I havent lost anymore chickens.

    stay tuned I guess...............