drama on the ranch

We are down to 3 chickens.
I am a terrible chicken mom.
A hawk (which has nabbed 4 chickens in a week) has taken up residence on the telephone pole directly over the coop- he had some success with 2 of my roosters last week. Tuesday morning I let the birds out for the first time in a week. The hawk was gone, so I figured they could have a day out in the fields. Sure enough, as soon as they booked it to the woods, a fox- a real live FOX, people- jumped out of the wood pile and chased three of them into the brush. Two smart/lucky chickens escaped to the front yard… the other three apparently did not have such a good day.

I didn’t know whether to cry or marvel. Mostly I just stood there with my mouth open in shock that everything I’ve read in biology and/or watched in a Disney movie is actually true. Predator prey. Circle of life. I prolly ran around the yard panicking “OhMYGOSHing” for a good 10 minutes before I collected myself and ran back inside. *sigh* My father was quick- lightening quick– to point out that we need a pen. He also mentioned that he’s said that before… several times. Thank you for speaking wisdom into my life, Pap. As much as I like my organic, free-range birds, I think they’re gonna have to become simply ‘cage-free’ after winter.

(The hawk last week bullying one of my hens…he eventually got tired and the chicken hopped up and survived another week- until the Fox incident. You can’t really tell in the photos, but that hawk is gi-normous. Raptor-size. Again… me standing in my front yard with my mouth hanging open.)

It’s like wild America out here…
Foxes and hawks and chickens, oh my.
Such is life on a teeny tiny farm.
We are excited to announce that we will hopefully be adding 2 cutey patooty Herefords in the next year or so. This means we need fencing, and I don’t know where that falls on the “major project” list. We’re naming them Pot and Roast. Just kidding. Actually, we also talked about getting some good old-fashioned Longhorns (just for the novelty of an Aggie OWNING a longhorn). These take forever to mature and therefore aren’t used for meat… just for show and responsibility and lawnmowing and loving and putting pretty red bows on their horns. So they’ll be friends and then maybe we’ll have a couple of Herefords for meat. We’ll have to share, because a quarter of a cow can easily feed a family for a year. Anyone interested?
We’re willing to take suggestion on other animals TexasNorth should add in the future. Let’s make sure they’re big enough that a hawk or fox can’t carry them away, shall we?

About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

18 responses to “drama on the ranch

  • Shanna, Adam and Gracen

    You need goats. We grew up on a farm (fish farm) with chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, a pony, and goats. Their names were Shwanley and Barley (from Heidi). There were amazing escape artists and did have a tendency for destruction, but I LOVED them. And they let us ride them like a pony. Ry needs a goat. And then you can start making cheese.

  • KatieKate

    I totally agree. My parents have Boer goats down there in Tejas. I think that’s a definite.

    I dunno about the cheese though. Goat cheese tastes like socks. Tube socks.

  • CortneyTree

    Oh, Katie, I’m inclined to think you’re wrong about the cheese, but I will admit to it being an acquired taste…
    I second the goats, I have demanded that when/if we ever actually live on The Commune, I be allowed to have a couple Tennessee Fainting Goats–because, seriously? goats that faint when startled HAVE to be well worth their keep in entertainment value alone.
    Goats, and a miniature pony. And some ducks. Matt is just thrilled I haven’t asked for a llama yet. Or a Camel like on Claxton Farm.

  • Shanna, Adam and Gracen

    gracen just deleted my comment.

    mean baby.

    you also need alpacas, so you can spin your own yarn and make pretty things.

    i think you need to retry the goat cheese. i hate to think your missing out on some of the universe’s fabulousness just cause you have a weird tube sock association.

  • Becky and Jeremiah Swann

    Oh I used to have a pet goat because when I was little I was alergic to everything else. He was fun.
    Sorry about your chickens, I seem hypocritical because lately all I’ve been eating is chicken, maybe that fox was pregnant? Cravings are a tricky thing 😉

  • KatieKate

    Fainting goats!!! As for the cheese…having spent 11 days in Costa Rica/Paradise for our honeymoon, we were privy to the very freshest of tube sock cheese and my stomach…oh my stomach… it just cannot handle it anymore. American goat cheese is a bit tamer…but still tube sock ish. I’m willing to keep trying, as I live for cheese and bread.

    Y’all are coming up with some fabulous ideas. Keep ’em coming.

    Yes. Perhaps the fox AND the hawk are pregnant. Like Shanna. SHANNA’S PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sunday

    i am sorry, did you say herefords for meat? you are going to raise cows and then use their meat? do you know how to do that? i mean i am all for some red meat. love it, could not live without it but looking out my window and seeing the very cow i intend to eat is very intense. you, katie, are a true woman. much more so then me!yeah shanna is pregnant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! now it is back to you katie. then jessica, and then we will skip me and go to becky and i will be on the 3rd round. sounds like a perfect plan.

  • the dicocco gang

    Oh, sadness over chicken massacre.

    We were at someone’s house the other night and they had a couple of ocelots. I think they probably eat foxes and hawks…but they might eat chickens too… so maybe that isn’t such a good plan. They also had a binturong… for real go look that thing up on that internet. She was both beautiful and amazing… and big… but I suppose not really farmish.

    and also, I love goat cheese… but would you really want to milk them?


  • OurMrsMikrut

    On the subject of the goat cheese…go to Carrabba’s and order the Chicken Bryan, and then we’ll talk about it again.

    And yes, as for raising these Herefords…my question is this…cow is in your yard, grazing. Cow is on your dinner plate. Who executes those “in-between” steps? Curt? Or do you hire a traveling butcher to come to your house and do the deed? Or do you haul your cow to a slaughterhouse? I must know.

  • KatieKate


    Laura, the ‘in-between step’ is one that concerns me as well, but I am told we have nothing to worry about. Being way out here, there’s 2 honest-to-goodness butcher shops that would handle everything for us. Herefords only have to grow for a year…so, Sunday, I am hoping they’re not TOO cute or I’ll be crying a lot the first couple years.

    I just really REALLY like the idea of knowing where my cow’s been and whqat he’s been munching on.

  • anna

    Ya know, you think you’re educated, went to school, read Zoo Books, etc.

    But I for the life of me have never heard of a binturong before.

    I looked up a picture. That thing is messed up! How do you get one of those, anyway? Is there a store?

    What a strange, wonderful world it is.

    Also, sorry about the dead chickens.

  • bec

    You need a peacock.

    And how do you know what tube socks taste like to begin with?


    I tried calling your home earlier – sad that you weren’t there!

  • Jessica, Myron and Rylie

    sunday: remember when i was getting married and we went to look at Claxton and you mispronounced Herefords..it was hilarious and i only think of you when i see that word (because of that you are nothing close to a Hereford)

    When we where little our neighbors had goats and my mom couldn’t tell if the goats were “talking” or if it was my baby brother crying. She would get so frustrated. just so you know?!

    how about horses!! they are SO expensive but I love them so much!!

  • OurMrsMikrut

    Zoo Books…ohmygoodness. Maybe they provide a better educational experience than Sweet Pickles?

  • Uncle Gene

    Didn’t your Pap teach you how to use a shotgun. You’re from Texas!

  • KatieKate

    Neighbor Doug-I-wear-flannel-shirts-year-round also suggested I ‘swipe’ the hawk…but, um, that’s illegal and I’m a good girl…though I do know how to use the .06

  • Camber

    Katie, you need a horse or three! i’d come up and ride them for you, too!

  • The Zoo


    This is serious chicken advice…you need to build a chicken tractor. This is the technical term for a moving pen that you can put all the chickens in and move around the field so they (and you) get all the benefits of free range chickens. Google “chicken tractors” and you can get free plans and build your own! And buy yourself a pellet gun (seems less intimidating than a shotgun)!

    Love you! Renee

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