I have written this post four times, in hopes that each succeeding draft more appropriately conveys how we feel. You see, we lost Lola and Gregory. Except lost is not the right word because we know where they went. They both were attacked and did not survive.
By what you ask? Take your pick.
We farm in our forest. The trees are very important to us and so, as long as they are not a danger to flock, they will stay forever...instead we have improvised a lot and are coming up with a method of pasture-raising animals that happens more on the forest floor than in a wide open field. And so with our forest comes it's inhabitants. Coyotes, weasels, raccoons, owls, and yes, an eagle.
Lola was taken first, we never found her. And so we got the two other ducks you may have seen on our facebook page because we felt so terrible that Gregory would be without other web footed companions. But then, we lost him too. Nick actually performed a very extensive and very pointless surgery when he found him, over 50 stitches. But it was a fool's errand as he was just too injured.
We have also lost two chickens from our very first flock.
We know that the main culprit is the eagle, Gargamel, who lurks around on the tops of the dead trees we keep around for the woodpeckers and glares at us. He is beautiful and he's also scared of nothing. I hate him for being so beautiful.
Did you know Eagles have no natural predators? Awesome. And of course shooting him, like we would a coyote who kept returning, is not an option. Ever.
The farmer in us is upset that we lost two good chickens, hand-raised, and only a year into laying.
The pet owner in us is upset that we lost Lola and Gregory, who would have provided eggs eventually, but were still just pets.
And the animal lover in us is upset about the whole thing.
And so we're doing the best we can...and trying not to be so hard on ourselves but really, you feel like $h*t. We are optimistic that when Turkish and Cleo roam as a pair they will help cut down on the aerial predators, because at this point aerial netting has not worked (Gargamel busts right through). Both dogs are learning to bark at him when he cruises over looking for a snack. We have also heard that once a flock suffers a few losses from an eagle they get more wise and will run for cover. And we're doing our part, to batten down even tighter, keeping our flock safe and secure.