Especially on small family farms the relationship between farmers and animals is close.

Murder On The Farmland

I never saw the murderers. And there was no sentence either. But the victims were there. Sometimes terribly battered, sometimes gone without a trace. We always knew who the killers were: ravens, coyotes, rats, chickens, dogs and cats.

Case 1: Bill on Keppel Croft lost most of his ducklings to rats. They literally enjoyed the little yellow featherballs. I don’t want to be too specific here, but the remains were, let’s say say, unsightly.

Case 2: Bill also lost a few chickens. Whether they were ravens or coyotes – the killer couldn‘t be identified.

Case 3: A prevented murder. While we were sitting comfortably over coffee and pie in the garden, the family cat suddenly jumped out of the bushes – a chipmunk still kicking between his teeth. Bill saved the little one in the last minute. Phew!

Case 4: Gabriel in Alberta lost almost half of his guinea fowls. Fearing that they might fall victim to a coyote, he had left them in the barn for a while. On a particularly nice and warm summer day, he let them out. After all, the animals love to run a lot – in this case, in the coyote’s clutches. Involuntarily, of course. The guinea fowls disappeared without a trace. Gabriel couldn‘t make out a single feather in the area. The murderer had wiped his tracks well.

Case 5: For days Gabriel watched an expectant guinea fowl mother particularly well and was overjoyed when the guinea fowl children finally pecked through their egg shells. Mother and children were given a quiet corner in the shed so that they could relax. Problem: The mother obviously found this pretty annoying. She pecked her little ones‘ beaks off and left them in a bad shape. At first, they were able to ingest food. I don‘t know whether they survived.

For predators like coyotes, chickens are a delicious meal.
For predators like coyotes, chickens are a delicious meal.

Case 6: We all knew that we had to keep a special eye on dog Bella. She had often stalked the chickens and watched them closely even from a distance. If no one was at home on the farm on Vancouver Island’s east coast, she was chained to a heavy cupboard in the living room or outside in the garden. We don’t know how Bella managed to break herself loose one day. But one thing is clear: she caught eight out of twelve chickens. The search for traces was successful. At this point, no further details about the crime scene as well…

It’s not that funny
What may sound a little funny here is actually dramatic for the farmers – especially on small farms. Every animal counts when it comes to having eggs for breakfast or even selling them. And even when it comes to livestock (a terrible word…), the relationship between the farmer, who ensures water, feed and a clean stable every day, and the animals are close.

It was clear to me that animals die in agricultural businesses by different causes. Admittedly, I wasn’t quite aware that the danger from predators was so great. Anyone who runs an organic farm and therefore doesn‘t allow animals to be confined to cages, but lets them run free, is subject to the laws of nature. In this way, the animals remain part of the natural food chain – and thus sometimes also victims of predators who just follow their natural instincts.

These little ducklings were lucky. But their siblings fell victim to a predator.
These little ducklings were lucky. But their siblings fell victim to a predator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *