It was early one cool spring morning. I was in the kitchen, making my morning coffee after letting the dog out for his morning "business". My husband had just gone into the bathroom to shower.
"Get the dog inside, NOW!" he'd yelled. "There's a coyote in the back yard!" I called him in from the front yard and took a broom with me out back to see what was going on. As I walked out., I saw him casually walking away from our fenced in yard.
He was beautiful. Large. Grey. And all too cocky as he meandered away. Relieved, we went to check on the chickens, sure that they were safe inside the coop in their fenced in run. But, no, he'd gotten all but two of our hens. A storm had blown their coop door closed just before dusk. The lone survivors were two hens who had made their way into the coop beforehand.
Six of our eight birds, taken out in one night. We were sick! In the weeks before, we''d noticed that our ladies were roosting on the shed next to our house, instead of in their coop. We'd clipped their wings and locked them in the run. Several days later, and we'd lost three to a racoon, who had been picking our hens off one at a time through the open coop door.
We had put a locking door on the coop with the intention of locking them up every night. It was family movie night on the third night into our new routine and it was storming. We'd completely forgotten about our girls. The coyote saw his chance and took it. We never saw it coming.
It was a hard lesson to learn, and one we hadn't had to face at our previous house in an older subdivision. Here, where packs of coyotes roam the field across the street and racoon make their homes in the trees that surround our house, where hawk families soar over the fields looking for prey of their own, we are learning to deal with a new set of homesteading problems: Predators.
Being in city limits, we are limited with what we can do. We've since gotten better about locking up the girls each and every night and we've added a new set of chicks to our flock. They are 10 weeks old now and all settled into their new home. We still deal with racoons (we trapped and relocated three in five nights) and I am sure the coyotes are still around, waiting for us to make one mistake that will leave our girls vulnerable to their attack.
Another life lesson. The enemy is always nearby, waiting for us to let our guard down, waiting for that us to make that one mistake, waiting for his chance to pounce. We have to stay on guard, both on the homestead, and in life. because we never when the enemy is nearby, waiting to pounce.