Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bear Attack Kills Two Chickens

Early Tuesday morning I took one step outside and saw this.  Sometime during the night, the side of our chicken house had been ripped off. 

Right away I knew it was bears.   A mother bear and two cubs have been in the area for weeks now.  Sunday night they were in a yard up our street and attracted the attention of the police, animal control and a helicopter.   On Monday morning, which is our trash pick up, they upended our trash cans and those of many up and down the street.    

As I put on my shoes, I was stunned, mad and sad all at the same time.  I knew we had lost chickens and I knew the bears had gotten them.   I walked to the hen house and saw a mass of feathers inside.   And the nesting boxes I made had been broken apart.   It was not hard to envision what had happened.    

I counted five chickens.   All were intact and looked fine.   Two of our flock were missing.   

I walked the yard and quickly found the remains of our two hens.    One hen, dubbed Speedy by our daughter, had been eaten no more than 20 feet from our back door.   The other hen, a pretty buff and white feathered chicken, had been taken to the front of the yard.   Very little was left of either bird.

I also saw plenty of other bear evidence -- two piles of bear poop, a broken fence and punctured volleyball.  

Though we live in the City of Pasadena, we're no strangers to wildlife.  I've devoted more space on this blog to wildlife than anything else for the simple reason that I'm amazed by it.   It is fascinating to see a hawk, coyote or bear in real life. 

Until now, I've thought we coexisted reasonably well with the wildlife.  But, the bears present an unusual challenge.  They're just so big and strong.   Coyotes can be fenced out. But, bears -- they go where they want and do what they want, including breaking through fences and ripping the siding off a chicken coop.        

I have to admit they're wearing on me.   I can deal with the trash barrels.    I don't like it, but I can fix a fence or two.   But, I hate losing our chickens. 


As I post this, I'm not sure what we're going to do.  We hear from others that bears are still in the neighborhood.   As things stand, we have no way to stop them from breaking into the coop again.   And, if we left our remaining chickens in the coop, the bears would certainly return for more.   So, while we figure things out, we've temporarily  relocated our chickens to another home.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bee in cardoons

 Our cardoon plant took off this year and is now about eight feet tall.  It is related to the artichoke, and grows dramatic purple flowers on top of a spiky globe.   The bees love them.  Supposedly, cardoon stalks and flowers are popular food items in the Mediterranean.     We tried the stalks and found them stringy.  Maybe we harvested too late in the year.