The coyotes have officially begun what must be a seasonal ritual. Their pups are growing up now and learning to hunt. There are litters to feed and litters that have to learn how to feed themselves. This means that chickens and other animals not under lock and key are fair game and, frankly, free lunch for any coyote brave enough to swoop in for a meal in the bright daylight.
Yesterday one of my hens was taken not 200 yards from where I stood. She was there, then she just – wasn’t - and the squawk she made in the moment of her snatching was horrible. I knew what happened before even processing the event. In the place where she’d been, I actually found Lord Grantham’s feathers, but just a few, proof enough that a coyote had taken him, too. Finding just a few feathers and no body is a good sign that a coyote was the culprit versus a coon or possum which will generally just take the head (!). Our neighbor confirmed that, last week, a few days since the last LG sighting, he’d caught a coyote in the middle of the day with his hen its mouth. It dropped the hen and ran when he chased it. But LG and my hen? Not so lucky.
Last night we stood in the kitchen next to windows that open into the forest. Coyote pups started yipping so loud and close it sounded as if they were in the nearby creek bed although the hills are deceiving with their echoes. I’m sure they were further away. Regardless, I got little sleep last night and assume there won’t be much tonight either after hearing the chorus of yips and howls from the property next door. Thankfully, I’m hearing a lot of gunshots, too. At least someone’s on patrol. This weekend I plan on some target practice. Jer won’t be here all the time, and I need to feel confident with the gun if I’m going to protect this place and these animals. Maybe it’s just the spring or the fact that they’ve grabbed some easy meals from this property already, but the neighborhood coyote have gotten too balls-y to be left alone. If my dogs can’t keep them away, yet, then the gun will have to.