Trying to understand, 8-16-21

I keep trying to put the pieces together. I miss my roosters many times a day and sometimes I even walk to the barn to see if they aren’t there, as if this has all been a nightmare.

I picked up these feathers north of the porch where chickens wander during daylight hours only.

This chicken lost its life during daylight hours, not in a sneak attack after dark. I also remember a couple weeks ago seeing another bunch of feathers similar to this in the grove. This tells me an overhead attack had to take place – an owl, a hawk, another bird of prey possibly? It couldn’t have happened after dark because the chickens are in the barn at that time.

I am having nightmares of a bird of prey taking Hazel. Little dogs have been snatched – I’ve read about it happening and I can’t help but be terrified that it might happen to us.

Do you remember just a few weeks ago when a reader asked me about losing chickens to predators and I said it had never happened since we put up the fence. I do not believe a predator climbed the fence and they cannot dig under the fence because the fence is buried 6” in the ground. That leaves the airspace above where a bird of prey could swoop down and grab a chicken. This is what I think has happened over 20 times and until the roosters that I knew personally didn’t show up in the yard I did not realize it was happening.

Chicklet and his gal pal – gone

All three roosters in this photo are gone as well as the white goat Sally.

Pudge is lonely, depressed and constantly looking for Sally – so sad.

I apologize for continuing to talk about this event – but when I write it down it helps me deal with my great loss. I wonder if I should see this as a sign to step away from having chickens and barn animals. People who don’t have pets are spared this grief – are the pets worth it? It’s that age old question of “is it better to have loved and lost or better to never have loved at all?”

Reader quilts:

Connie’s dogs are “helping”, right?
Home at Night

Home at Night is now available in the online store.

I got the first 12 cookbook orders today – they will be in tomorrow’s media mail.

81 thoughts on “Trying to understand, 8-16-21

  1. Cheryl Regan

    My friends lost a small white dog to an airborne predator. I think being concerned about Hazel is real.

  2. Kim J LeMere

    I feel your loss of the chickens and Sally. I think you are correct to suspect something from over head is entering the yard. It is always better to have loved even if there is a sense of loss when its gone.
    May tomorrow be a better day for you

  3. Jessica in Florida

    I’m so sorry, Mary. Don’t ever apologize for missing your animals and needing to get it out. Many of us have been there. I have 4 cats, 3 who are seniors (16 and two 13-years old) and a 4 year old and I worry numerous times throughout every day about one of them dying. We love you and understand.

  4. Lynn in Scottsdale

    I am so sorry about your nightmares, sadness, and worry.

    Will keep you in my prayers.

  5. Gwen Minshall

    Such an important question. But what would this life be without love? I have lost many pets over my life. They were all worth the terrible feeling of loss. My feeling on this was sorely tested 3 years ago. I lost my 36 year old son. I still feel that it is worth it to love others, pets and people.

  6. Diane Bauer

    I’m so sorry yet again. Cannot believe this has happened to you! Yes, I think you are right to be concerned about Hazel. I had a hawk swoop in and grab a rabbit in my yard a few years ago—thankfully, not a pet—but oh, my gosh, it happens so quickly and the deed is done. I don’t leave my pups out and they are Goldens—60-70 pounds each—but I still worry.

    You never need to apologize for grieving the loss of an animal!

  7. Donna O

    Mary so sorry for all your recent losses. I know you love each and every pet you have/had. I still miss my boys & it’s been over a year. I’d give anything to have them both back but without health issues.
    I toy with getting another cat but then he/she would be lonely unless I bring in two cats. Right now my calendar is filling up with so many pet jobs. I barely have an open week thru October. I even have one on my calendar for 2022. Is love a pet but can’t imagine going thru another loss or the expense. Henry cost me a lot of money but I couldn’t let him suffer & yet we never got his insulin dose mastered.
    Sad….just to type this post 😢
    Yes, I’m sure you worry about Hazel getting picked up. That would be horrific 🙁

  8. Marilyn Miller

    Dear Mary, I hurt for you and your pain is obvious through your words. You have always provided well for your beloved menagerie, those sharing your home as well as those outside. May God Bless you and give you peace♥️

  9. Diana in Des Moines

    My neighbors had a small teacup size dog. I kept seeing a red tail hawk on their fence and alerted them. They had no idea. I hate to think that’s what happened to your fowl, but likely.

    It is human nature to want companionship, that’s why God made pets. Maybe you are of the age where you might consider not getting more barnyard animals. What happens if they outlive you? Do you have a plan? We think of our stuff, but not our pets. Don’t be mad at my common sense – I think about these things with my own pets.

    I see cool weather in the next 10 days. Fall is coming. I like summer, but LOVE fall!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diana – oh, I most definitely have planned for their future if they outlive me – names of friends are in my death instructions as to who takes what animals

  10. Ruth

    It is better to love- your barn critters have had the best life! You saved most of them! I am so sorry for your loss. I know how painful it is.

  11. Teresa

    I can’t answer that question for you, Mary, but I can empathize because we lost most of our poultry one summer and never figured out what was taking them. That’s when I gave up having chickens.

  12. Frances E

    So sorry for the loss of your animals. We all understand. However, as we age we have to figure out our limitations and the life span of new animals. You’ll know what to do and when. Best wishes!

  13. Sue in PA

    My daughter has chickens and their outdoor run is totally enclosed by chicken wire or something, even on the top, to keep the predators out. They learned the hard way that they couldn’t protect them, even if they were out in the yard with them. Unfortunately, previously they had one snatched by a fox while they were outside at the same time.

  14. Debbie R.

    I am so sorry for all your losses on the farm. But I do think it’s better to have loved & lost, then never to have loved at all. We recently lost our dog suddenly, & I was sure when we rescued her that she would be our last dog. But both my husband & I couldn’t stand being without a dog, so within a week we found a dog that needed a home.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Debbie R – I am so glad you felt the need of another rescue dog! I always say that if you’re a true dog lover you simply can’t NOT have a dog! People say that after their loss they just never want to go thru it again BUT as you said, there was another dog who needed a home! Thank you for providing that home!

  15. Bonnie Specchio

    Mary I am so sorry and I do understand. This past year we lost 3 of our beautiful peacocks to great horned owls.

  16. Bea knight

    Hi Mary

    I get it I would be concerned too! My husband said could you put wires or netting of some kind above where this is happening
    I love my dog to death. I rescued 2 Guinia pigs that were found in a garbage dumpster they give me kisses and fall asleep on me
    I sure do understand completely!🙏🏻

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Bea – I’d have to lock them up in a small area to do that – they are free range now.

      1. Bea knight

        Ok well again I am so sorry this is happening. I love all my animals like they are my children.🙏🏻❤️ My heart goes out to you.

  17. Darla

    So sad about those beautiful roosters and hens and of course Sally too.
    Such heartbreak for you. I’m so sorry.

  18. Susie Kepley

    Take fishing line and run it on the fence top in all directions. That should keep out predators from swooping in for lunch. When we had chickens we made a cover for our run out of corrugated plastic attached to 2x4s. Don’t give up on them yet they still bring you much joy. Nothing better than sipping coffee and listening to chicken talk!

  19. Marj in Western Wisconsin

    So sorry for the loss of all these loved pets. I saw an eagle grab up a full size rabbit just the other day. And today I saw a woodchuck out in the middle of our lawn, haven’t seen one in 14 years. Need to see if I can find his hole. 14 years ago it was under our house. Last year I caught a opposum trying to get into our kennel about 10 pm. Don’t know why, but he never came back after my husband “persuaded” him not to go thru the flipper door into the kennel. Did you every think about a trail cam watching your chicken area? Walmart has them for about $20.

  20. Donna Sproston

    ISobsorry for the loss of all those oets! I have seen hawks swoop in on our bird feeder, but I bet you are dealing with an owl or a bald eagle if you have them in your area. We see an eagle circling in our area.

  21. Jan VanDeWalle

    Sorry for the loss of your babies, Living on a farm we seem to have more losses than others but never get used to it. We raised sheep for many years, never lost any to coyotes, but birthing problems cause a bit of pain when you try so hard to help the ewes or the lambs and they still pass on. The chickens or ducks were another story they would lose the babies in the tall grass and before I found them cats or hawks would. I did have a problem with raccoons and mink . Coons are crafty they climb fences and are pretty good at opening gates or doors.
    Take heart that you gave Sally a good life when she came to you, and she passed where she was loved and cared for. Extra roosters usually ended up in the stew pot with noodle at My MIL house, My husband won’t eat chicken and noodles or eggs to this day. And doesn’t want me to have chickens now, he took over the old chicken shed for storage quite a few years a ago, and it needs too much work to keep chickens safe now. he spoils the dog but swears that he doesn’t want another dog or cat, but I will always have a dog as long as I am able. We have a pet cemetery, the little fir trees are getting big so not much room there for many more of our furry babies. Sending you warm thought and HUGS ! There are always more critters needing someone to love them when you are ready to share again.

  22. Lynn Handberg

    Mary, it’s definitely better to have loved and lost. It’s a hard decision to start over with loving new animals again but you certainly have a unique gift!

  23. michele

    So sorry for your losses. Could it be raccoons? They are very good climbers. Climbed up our downspout one night and tried to join us in bed. We could hear them trying to dig a hole in our roof.

  24. Betty Klosterman

    The wild animals who have to hunt to live are part of the life circle. They can take care of the sick animals. Chickens are pretty defensless and an easy mark. Remember when I asked about the big black bird in one of the pictures you posted — I think south of the barn? It could have been a hawk, crow or raven and they could have been hunting. Remember how big the owl was in the grove? Some places have a large pen covered with chicken wire to keep unwanted visitors out.
    There is no reason for you not to have more chickens, geese, dogs. They give you love and attention and vice versa. All God’s animals do, including you, too. Who cares what Rick thinks. So, make up a covered pen. Their free range will be smaller. And definitely watch Hazel.
    Sally was at the end of her life, which had been long and rewarding. Have you forgotten when the weasel got into the pen with the baby chicks? Life does march on.
    Betty in Rapid City

  25. Carrolyn V

    I am so sorry to hear of your painful losses. My 6’4 husky hubby always carried our little white cotton de tulear dog out to the pen he had made for him to do his business…….about 6’ square with seven ft cyclone fencing around. We used to let baxter run out there by himself and return when he finished and then he let us know at the patio doors that he was ready to come in. One evening Rod watched a bald eagle swoop to try to get him! Luckily he ran too fast. Hubby said he probably thought he was a little white bunny in the moonlight. After that, Hubby always carried him out….then one evening a huge barn owl actually tried to get him out of his arms attacking him on his head. Amazing …and frightening. I feel your pain!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Carrolyn V – what??? An owl attacked him as he carried the little dog? So frightening – what am I going to do? I’ve never been so afraid in 40 years!

  26. Betty Klosterman

    The picture was of the geese on your 7-14 posting. There is 1 large black bird just beyong the fence and another farther away by the grove…….

  27. Chris Huckaby

    Sorry to hear about your chickens. I live next door to a chicken ranch and across street from orange grove and very tall eucalyptus trees. I have a phone pole in the yard and it is an owls dinner table. If there is a loose chicken it is dinner for the owls. Feathers everywhere even occasional feet. We have hawks too but they mostly get the rabbits the coyotes cant catch. Country living has its down side. I wouldn’t give it up.

  28. Kathy in western NY

    Oh boy Mary you think like I think. It crosses my mind all the time now that my rescued pets are getting older, and my husband is recovering and I am not as stable and strong as I use to be. It’s hard getting older and even having the many vet appts needed for our fur babies. I admit I am just one who is trying to figure out my limitations with so much on my plate right now so I feel your anguish. But please listen to most of what your readers are saying about keeping Hazel in close eye range. I won’t let my 12 lb white chihuahua out by himself as I hear hawks squawking in our trees and know they see him down below. They are faster than me so I make sure the dogs come back in with me after going poddy as it’s not safe. I too have known people watch in horror and can’t do a thing to save them so I know it’s just another responsibility I need to do as I chose to rescue this little guy so he deserves to be taken care of properly.

  29. Tammy Guerrero

    All your animals need your love and kindness. You have to much love in your heart to stop having these creatures. God’s creatures! Talk to a goat rescue. There is a goat out there that needs a home and companion. I also have a farm. Some years are like the one you are having. But, I can’t imagine my life without each and everyone I care for daily! When you loose one the barn isn’t the same. But, when a new member comes there is so much happiness and excitement. Hope you find out who your predator is. I sat out in the barn when our chickens were disappearing. A red fox was our predator. Keep your chin up. They all need you and you need them!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Tammy – many many years ago when I had chickens disappearing, I hired two teenagers to sit one one side of the barn and I sat on the opposite side. Sure enough – it was a Fox! I DO need my animals – what would my life be without them? And yes, the barn is different – the black goat is still so upset but doesn’t want to join the other 5 yet. I have not had a year like this for a long time, thank goodness.

  30. Betty Klosterman

    I can remember in the annals of my mind several years ago while watching the Decorah Eagle Nest, that the eagle came back with a small dog for the chicks. They took the site down for awhile. Many people would have been really upset. Especially the dog owner. How horrible.

  31. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    We are always here to listen, Mary. It sounds like you are solving the mystery. 🥰

  32. Susan K in Texas

    I’m so sorry about your chickens and your goat. So heartbreaking. To think a bird of prey has taken the chickens is scary. And yes protect that little Hazel!
    When I lost my cat Cocoa 3 years ago I thought I wouldn’t want another cat. Weeks later I couldn’t wait to get a new kitty. I had to wait several months due to traveling and other reasons. Now I have my two black kitties – Magnus and Klaus. Our pets add so much to ours lives. I can’t imagine you would be happy without your animals.

  33. Pat ‘

    When our last golden retriever died I said, No more! The loss of such a loved animal was too much. But, after a year, I started looking at pictures on line of dogs at our shelter. If I hadn’t dragged Terry out to see two little dogs, we never would have found our Jack and Sonny and we would have missed all they have given to our family. So, I don’t think I could say no more. Yes, I would be careful of Hazel if you suspect an overhead predator. While on a camping trip at a fairgrounds, we noticed some osprey nests overhead. Then we realized that they were following us overhead as we walked the dogs. The dogs suddenly had very short leashes. How you protect free range chickens I can’t imagine. It has to be a hawk, owl, or eagle from overhead that’s taking them. ‘What a nightmare.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Pat – oh thank goodness, you found Jack and Sonny! Right now I’m saying no more of anything! I think I’m too sad to go to the state fair and I’ve been looking forward to it for 3 years. I’m afraid to leave Hazel, too! I always was thrilled when the dogs would go out to play on their own and now I can’t bear to think of it.

  34. Jo in Wyoming

    Yes, keep a security eye on Hazel. What ever took the chickens, thinks your property is easy hunting grounds. I have a runners light I clip to Loretta’s collar. My thought is that it confuses prey. When we go out after dark I can see her and when she is done doing her business. There was a pack of coyotes out last night, their howling woken us up. Losing the chickens is heartbreaking. If writing about them helps, tell us every day.

  35. Susan Lenz

    I am so sorry for your losses. I do believe the love,antics,laughter and happiness our pets provide do make it worth the grief,though it is so hard on our hearts when they leave- especially mysteriously.
    I hope you have many photos and stories about your pets to fill your heart during this time. Enjoy the ones who are still here.💗🙏🏻

  36. Joyce

    Can you stick a large plastic owl on a post where it can clearly be seen from the air? I think that would deter and discourage any hawks or other owls from coming in. I saw a little chickadee get taken right out of mid air by a hawk. And I live in town! I’ve asked the question too about getting another dog or pet after losing my golden doodle this year… it’s tough but I’d never give up all the love and memories he’s given me.. his eyes could look into my soul. I have faith the right dog will show up when I’m ready to open my heart to another one…. Sorry for all your losses..🐾♥️

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Joyce – wouldn’t the chickens be terrified seeing a plastic owl sitting on their fence? It might work – I just don’t know.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jenny Stevenson – thanks, Jenny – it just makes me so sad to lose them.

  37. Kim

    I’m not surprised that you feel such grief for your chickens. I have a friend who raises chickens and ducks. She’s witnessed bird attacks that she lost chickens to. Eagles! She resorted to netting over the fenced yard spaces in order to keep them from harm. The ducks on the pond didn’t have as much shelter but she thought an animal was the reason for their disappearance. She wondered what was going on as you have until she saw what was happening. She felt very sad for her girls and missed them. It was a very painful experience for her. She lives on a lake as well as open field and wooded areas as well so it’s tough to keep birds away. No doubt owls and hawks have been a problem as well. I’m sorry for your losses, Mary. It’s a lot all at once.

  38. Mary Duval

    Oh Mary so sorry to hear about your loss it’s always best to have loved and I have thought like you I can’t do this again but I always realize how much I don’t have a special pet to hold. So of to the local shelter to adopt a cat. I did this four years ago and had decided to adopt an older cat we found a beautiful 6 year old gray male cat. The day we brought him home and introduced him to my ten year old female cat you couldn’t believe it but you would of thought he has always lived here he was at the shelter for two months I truly believe they know long story short my older cat is now 14 years and not well time I’ve been through this many times but like you and people who have lots of love to give you just pick up the pieces and start over again

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary Duval – I really want Hazel to have a pal but what if I bring home a dog and she hates it???? You were lucky with your cat adoption!

  39. Mary Howland

    Is it possible to get some video cameras installed which would react with motion? Then you could see what predator is taking the chickens. However, it may be unsettling to watch it.

    I had put my name on the list for a cookbook but then you said you were filling the orders first come, first serve. As I live in CA I figured my check wouldn’t get to Iowa until later this week. I didn’t want to create a hassle with the late check so I didn’t send it.

    I know your animals bring you such joy that I hope there’s a resolution soon.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary Howland – I’m sure I’ll run out of cookbooks with today’s mail – then I’ll have to return everyone else’s checks – ugh.

  40. Bobbie

    Mary you give your animals such a good home. As long as you are physically able don’t stop. You truly have a loving heart. It’s so upsetting to think a bird or something is coming in and getting them. Can you shoot them or is against the law in your state? Can they be trapped or something.? I think I would build some type of wire cover in a area and only let the chickens into it. Oh, my to think they could get Hazel that is to hard to think about. What a horrible way for a puppy to die.I think I would have something to shoot or have go off that’s a lot of noise maybe scare them away. Some farmers have a cannon like noise they have in there corn fields to scare the birds off from eating the corn. I know you don’t have all day to set and watch all the chickens but maybe someone has a motion camera you could use to monitor so you could know what it is.
    I pray they get no more chickens from your farm.
    The pictures sent in today are beautiful to.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Bobbie – yes, I could get cameras but where would I position them on 6 acres? And what could I do about it when I did see the predator? I’m guessing it’s a great horned owl – I hope it’s not the one whose life I saved several years ago! Wouldn’t that be sad!!

  41. Pattie Weber

    Our animals are our unconditional love. In spite of the pain of loss, they make our lives richer. Thoughts and prayers are with you from everywhere.

  42. Jean

    Oh gosh Mary. I’m sorry that c you are going thru this. Try to relax some about hazel. Even a great horned owl or an eagle will struggle to lift a 20 pound animal. Does hazel weigh more than 20 pounds?

  43. Jean

    Oh gosh Mary. I’m sorry that you are going thru this. Try to relax some about hazel. Even a great horned owl or an eagle will struggle to lift a 20 pound animal. Does hazel weigh more than 20 pounds?

  44. RuthW

    The loss of your chickens is probably so hard to understand and accept because you haven’t been able to remember the order of things. Perhaps something will eventually click and you will remember why you were not aware of the loss. Maybe there was a death in a family, or you were working night and day on a project, or there was illness/hospitalization. For some reason, you were otherwise occupied in life, and the roosters and chickens were taken. It’s Life. That’s how it is sometimes. They were fun characters, and we are all glad that you had them, and shared them with us. They live in our memories. Thank you! Take care!

  45. Linda Schluchter

    Mary, I feel your grief but it is better to have loved. I have a problem trusting people who don’t love animals, I understand not wanting to bother with caring for them but those who don’t like God’s sweet creatures I don’t generally care for. Makes me wonder if their hearts are cold!

    I’m fortunate, my chickens have the woods to wander and roam and they stay under the trees as if they know they are protected because we have hawks and eagles soaring quite often. I have had some snatched during the day so I guess it was by fox or coyotes that I have seen hunting during the day – yes they do run during the day!

    I am currently so worried about my 13 year old golden, Elliott. I know he is getting hard of hearing but I fear he is getting senile too. From what I have read it isn’t uncommon with senior dogs. He starts barking for no reason whatsoever, day and sometimes during the night. He stops when I sooth him with hugs, kisses and petting but can start back up when I stop. The vet may have some idea of how we can help him but I hate to put him on drugs and hate more the fact that he maybe getting close to crossing over. I will suffer for a very, very long time, but he has brought me such love and joy, I would have missed all of it if he weren’t my baby.

    Try to think of the love and happiness Sally and the boys gave you. I hope your grief lessens soon.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda Schluchter-I know deep in my heart that you’re right – I cannot live without my animals and I will stay here on the farm for as long as possible so I can keep them. I don’t trust people who don’t love animals either – how can one not love them????? I can hear that you’re trying to prepare your heart for the loss of your golden boy, Elliott. 13 is quite old for a golden and it sounds like he’s beginning to go down hill. Love him while you have him. I had a “friend” say to me one time “I’ll take care of them but I’m not ever going to love them!” At that moment she ceased being the friend I had thought she was. Give your Elliott a hug from me and keep me updated about him – I’d love to see a picture of him, too.

  46. Kathy Hanson

    Oh Mary, I am so sorry for the loss of your chickens and roosters, I know how much you love them and how sad you must be! Poor Pudge, missing his partner too! Such a sad time for all of you!

  47. Paula Philpot

    Mary, you love your animals and they make you happy so I say do what makes you happy! Can you imagine your life without your animals? So sorry this has happened! Paula in KY

  48. Glenda Fletcher

    Sorry to hear about your chickens and Sally. We also know about loss as we had 3 Pomeranians. We had a lot of joy with them over the years. Shaq was sitting on the top step waiting for me to come home from work. He could look out the window at the road. They are all so precious to us.
    I looked up your email from 7-14 and yes there the 2 birds are. Wow. Hope you don’t miss any more. It has been quite a while since we have been to a fair. Dad took our brown swiss cattle to the Spencer fair each year for a while. We got to go on Sunday for the day as we also had a “brown swiss” picnic. We have gone to the state fair here a couple times. Our granddaughter showed her sewing and other items .

  49. Diane B

    Mary, I am so sorry to hear about your losses. We live on an acreage in Iowa with two little dogs. A pomeranian and a shih tzu Pomeranian mix. There are a couple of smaller fields but the yard area is about 4 or 5 acres. A few times we’ve had eagles perch on trees in our yard. I was always terrified they’d get our dogs. I wouldn’t let them outside when the eagles were around. A DNR employee from the University of Iowa raptor center told me the biggest threat would be from an owl. With both of our dogs being black and hard to see outdoors at night, it’s a constant concern. Potty breaks are very short and on leash when we know the owls are around. The other bird we used to see lined up and perched on our barn were turkey buzzards. I have to admit I didn’t grow up on a farm so I am not sure that is the correct name. They were really creepy and I didn’t like them around. I was told they only eat dead things and not to worry about them. The barn is no longer there thus no more buzzards. Until this spring. Thank goodness my husband was paying attention because I was off in the garden with my head down working away and my dogs were hanging out in the yard. They love running and playing in their big yard! I noticed my husband over in front of the house looking strangely in the sky. The buzzards were back! About 5 of them, and they were circling. He was keeping a close eye on the dogs as he was concerned the buzzards were preparing to target them! I called the dogs over and kept them very close and moved to different areas of our acreage and the birds moved as well. So in the house the dogs went! I continued to work in the garden and around the yard to various flower beds. It seemed wherever I moved the birds shifted to trees in that part of the yard. I was furious. This was MY yard and these birds were NOT welcome! Out of frustration I kept yelling at them and tried to throw tennis balls up in the trees to scare them away. As you can imagine this was ridiculous yet quite an entertaining display of my brief lack of intelligence! The trees were too tall and my abilities sooooo small! HAHA! The birds didn’t even blink. Thankfully they were gone the next day and we’ve never seen the buzzards since. It is strange that this has happened all of a sudden with how long you’ve lived there with pets. I hope you’re able to get this resolved soon. Do you have access to a trail camera or some sort of surveillance you can put in that area of your yard?

    1. Beryl BC

      Mary, so sorry to hear of the loss of your animals. Other readers have said many of the things I would say.

      Diane B, we have turkey buzzards in our part of Ohio. We’ve sometimes wondered if they were after us when we’ve had them following us overhead when we’ve been biking on the bike trails. I suppose they are actually looking for the dead animals in the area.

  50. Kris in Naperville

    So sorry about your animal friends… such grief when we have to face losing them. Please continue to write about your grief and confusion… we are here for you, just as you are there for us. I wish I could say the magic words to soothe your sad heart but, alas, I do not. Just know that we are with you in spirit and know that you are hurting. Love you Mary, sending you a virtual hug!

  51. Jan Smith

    Oh, it just has to be worth it. Animals add so much to the lives of those who love them. This might be the silliness of a non farm girl, but would a scarecrow or something that makes a noise that predator birds dislike help? It’s really incredible that so many of your chickens have gone missing lately. It doesn’t seem that a bird could catch feisty Hazel. At least, I hope not! I’m praying that this is the last of your losses.

    1. carrolyn v

      We kept having birds fly into a living room window whether we had curtains open or closed. I printed a couple of pix of a hawk and had it blown up lifesize at Staples and taped them to that window for a couple of weeks…….took care of that!

  52. Annie in NC

    It has made me sooo very sad to hear about your beautiful roosters and chickens disappearing, I’m so sorry!! But I totally agree with the “overhead” theory. I live in the city, but have seen hawks carrying small animals through the air, even saw one carrying a squirrel with the poor little animal’s tail waving in the wind … that’s not easy to see. And my niece’s husband put some chickens in their backyard near downtown a couple years ago, but quickly lost all of them to a hawk, so it’s not only happening out in the country-side.
    Years ago, my friend’s German Shepard had 8 puppies which were out in the backyard around dusk, playing and laying around in the grass. While the mama dog was away for a bit, I watched an owl zoom in & try to steal one of her very chubby puppies. They were probably 6-8 weeks old and luckily the owl couldn’t carry its weight … got it up about a foot off the ground and dropped it. But wow!! Seeing an owl sitting up in a tree is a very different sight from seeing their gigantic wing span, which tells you just how large owls can be.
    Hazel is absolutely the cutest dog EVER, and we all know you’re not going to let anything bad happen to her!

  53. Micky

    Mary, So many losses at once are very hard to understand. I’m not sure what the answer is. Peace

  54. Linda Baker

    I absolutely HATE birds of prey. These stories are going to give me nightmares, HA! Every time a hawk comes near our bird feeders I tell my husband to “shoot the d–m thing”. Oh no, it’s illegal, he says. Early this summer a hawk perched on one of his Blue Bird houses. My husband could’t grab a gun fast enough! But the hawk flew away before he could get a shot.
    We have owls in the winter. You can hear them hooting to each other, it’s downright creepy.

  55. Connie R.

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your animals. It must be so painful for you. You are meant to have animals because you love each and every one. Please don’t give up on having chickens and other farm animals. We love your stories and updates.

    Is Connie’s pictured quilt a Kim Diehl pattern? Her dogs sure are enjoying it. I’m a scrap quilt lover and, as always, she has made a beautiful one!

  56. Karla

    I am so sorry about your great losses. So sad. Wondering if a couple Great Pyrenees guard dogs would help?

  57. Janice Brown

    Mary, It is very distressing and sad. I’m at a loss for words of comfort. I just pray that God gives you a comforting hand and the strength to move forward.

  58. Sherrill

    You’ve lost so many. After I had to have my boy, Fang, put to sleep 2 days before Christmas in 2019 (he was 17 1/2), I cried for DAYS. I swore I would never get another pet as it’s just too hard to me. I miss having him around since I’m alone (DH has been gone 9 years now) but I just cannot do that again. They are definitely a part of us.

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