Well, if it isn’t one predator it is another!
One morning at 7am after letting all the poultry out for the day, we saw a fox checking them out. It was daylight, though only just at this time of the year. Needless to say we were not happy.
Next day, there were two eagles perched in a tree overlooking the wandering poultry! Now they are a predator too, and we have certainly seen them take our poultry in the past….. but……. they are a native Australian bird, indigenous to this area…… and so majestic! So of course the camera comes out, and numerous photos taken.
A pair of eagles watching the poultry
Needless to say, in the last two weeks since seeing the fox and the eagles, we have lost two geese and two turkeys, and everyone now needs to stay locked up in their pens for their safety!
Well, most of Perth stayed indoors as much as possible today, with the temperature reaching 44.4C…….that is 112F for those overseas! We knew some heat was coming (plus it is summer after all and we do what we can to prepare for the heat…and bushfire season. We had put up shade cloth over the aquaponics grow beds, and the duck pen, and thank goodness we did that before today.
Shade cloth covering the veggies in the aquaponics
Late yesterday we gave everything a good deep watering in anticipation of the 41C forecast for today. As the temperature soared we turned on some sprinklers to give the birds some relief, and freshened up the water baths (check out the handy hints page) we have around the place.
Splish splash I was takin’ a bath…..on a 44 degree day!
We also put on the ‘overhead’ sprinklers. We have these on the house in case of a bushfire, but it also helps to cool down the house (we have a tin roof); and we also have them on the rabbit house, again for both reasons. The rabbits had their two litre bottles of ice (also mentioned in handy hints) this morning, and then a new one at 3.00 to help them out some more.
The poor turkeys are hot, as they recently had young and they are too small to let out along with the ducks, geese and poultry. We turned on the sprinkler for them too, and this helped cool them down.
Winter is the time when turkeys start to nest. This year our poor turkeys have been laying eggs, which have then been stolen by the crows. We have now had to lock them in a more secure enclosure, but made them a nice little nesting spot!
Turkeys like to nest in the scrub, so we brought the scrub to the turkeys! There are now 8 eggs covered up in the corner, so soon one of the turkey hens will sit on them, and we will be able to let the others out.
Like the rabbits, fish, ducks, sheep and poultry, we breed the turkeys for meat- just enough for us. They take longer to grow, 20 weeks or so, but are worthwhile for the amount of meat they produce.
Yet more death and destruction at McCarthy Park this week……went out to feed the animals one evening, and came face to face with a mangy looking fox actually curled up IN the chook run. It had obviously got in earlier and killed three chooks, but couldn’t get out again.
It is so, so distressing….and annoying, to lose our animals in this way. Foxes tend to just kill for the sake of it rather than for food. This fox was very skinny, and must have been hungry, yet had killed three chooks and just left them.
After much searching, we found a possible entry point – a very small gap under a gate, not at all something we would have thought a fox could fit through. Fortunately all the other animals free ranging at the time were unharmed.
Today we bought 7 turkey poults! They are still very young (under 1 week) so are in a small cage with a 100W light globe to keep them warm. We are still building their new enclosure, but it will be ready by the time they are! It just needs to be made fox proof, as unfortunately they do visit us from time to time, and they cause such destruction in a few moments.
The chicks are doing well, even the two that were rescued as newly hatched. They were near death, so we put them in the cage with the light and were amazed to see they survived. After a few days they were strong enough to slip back to the mother hen and chicks.