I was planning to post a few last photos from Hawaii today.
But that will have to wait.
The first words I heard this morning from the CE after I woke up were these: “I’m so sorry, but I have bad news.”
Tulip was snatched this morning by a coyote.
While we were away, an emboldened coyote has apparently begun working our neighborhood. When I alerted neighbors to our loss this morning, one told me that some folks down the street lost a cat the other day. “Lost”, in our neighborhood, is a euphemism for a coyote attack.
In the twenty years we have lived here, we have never seen a coyote on our property. But this morning was different. Shortly after the CE let the hens out to free-range, there was a ruckus in front yard. Our friends Lori and Chadd are staying with us and Chadd heard the noise from the guest room and looked out to see a coyote carrying Tulip away. It took him and the CE a long time to find the other hens, who had run to cower against a fence. They are safely in their pen now where they will have to stay. For the moment, free-ranging is out of the question.
Chloe had spent the night with Lori down in the pool house. Would it have made a difference if she had been out? I don’t know. What I do know is that the cats will be kept inside now and Soho will be monitored closely when she goes out. Everyone has a story of someone they know who stood by helplessly while a coyote grabbed their small dog right in front of them.
Coyotes are a fact of life in our area. I’ve occasionally seen one walking down the middle of the road in broad daylight. But it’s been awhile since we’ve heard that blood-curdling yipping after dark that signals a coyote pack taking down prey. For years we had no bunnies in our neighborhood, but recently they have proliferated. To their peril, I’m afraid, because now, the coyotes are back.
There are only a few things you can do to discourage coyotes. A five-and-a-half foot fence is recommended; we have a four-foot wall. Llamas, donkeys or Great Pyrenees dogs are suggested as flock guards; I highly doubt that I will be successful in convincing the CE to acquire one of those. Back in 2004, a plan was advanced in our area to hire a trapper to address the coyote issue, but was dropped after some homeowners voiced objections.
Tulip was a beautiful Black Copper Marans hen. She was a bully to the others, and especially picked on Pippa, but she did not deserve a fate like this. Now the three remaining hens will have to re-group. Luna, our little white Silkie, is broody right now and I’ve been hemming and hawing over whether to give her a few baby chicks to raise. Some days, that seems like the right idea. But today, I just feel defeated. So much loss in the past year with Hope and Lucy’s demises and now, this. A sad day here.