Bunnies on the Ranch

We have two new boarders on our little farm… and this time it’s not horses! They’ve traveled all the way from Florida and will stay here until their family finds a house.

Aren’t they cute?

Garden Woes

bunnies
TBN Ranch Bunnies

After planting a billion sunflower seeds the last surviving seedling has been devoured by rabbits. I have a rabbit problem here, they live and breed everywhere, in the hay room, under the feed shed, even the chicken coops. This morning a new litter of tiny bunnies were found under one of the chicken shelters.

I’m beginning to realize what I can plant and what’s a big waste of time. Cactus are never bothered, so I thought maybe all thorny vegetation would survive and planted a beautiful pink rose bush.  Well yesterday morning it was nothing more than a near naked bald stick in the ground.  Off to the shed I went and got four stakes and some chicken wire in hopes of saving it.

Pink Rose Bush
Pink rose stick bush

I hate chicken wire, handling this jagged and unruly material is like volunteering to bleed to death. By the time this unscheduled chore was complete the temperature was 95 degrees, my arms were half shredded and I was toast.

And another thing,  why are wire cutters always substandard? I now have four pair, even the expensive ones work hardly better than if I chewed the wire off with my teeth. Ibuprofen should be shrink wrapped to this inadequate time consuming tendonitis causing tool. So all  this drama for one little rose bush. Maybe I’m overlooking the obvious… perhaps my forte is raising rabbits, not gardens.

Coyote Looking for a Meal

Last night in total darkness I stumbled upon a coyote standing six feet from my chicken coop. I’ve seen her before pacing the fence line knowing just on the other side is enough food to feed her and her pups. The acreage across the road is a common stomping ground where coyotes raise their young. When the pups reach about four months old, the mother moves them to the desert mountain range behind our ranch.

Their food source is rabbits, and believe me, there is an endless supply. Every morning I see ten to fifteen on my property alone. My chickens don’t bother them, so my ranch has become a safe haven breeding ground for cotton tail bunnies. I find babies in my hay pile, compost pile, and under the feed shed all the time.

Apparently my coyote neighbors have grown tired of rabbits and have fresh chicken on the mind… mine. The six foot block wall around my property isn’t going to keep them out either. My ladies are in danger, and not just one, all of them in that particular hen house. Coyotes are not likely to just pick off one chicken and leave, they’re greedy and capable of wiping out an entire flock in minutes.

These particular hens at risk are from a previous flock and housed in a separate chain link enclosure with an elevated hen house inside. Only shade cloth covers the top, so they are the only ladies I’m worried about. The rest of my hens are safe from predators in another area.

I hung an LED light at the coyotes eye level right on the front of the coop where my at risk hens nest at night. I’ve read that coyotes avoid light, so needless to say, last night my entire property was lit up like a Christmas tree. This morning…. I was very pleased to find every single hen was accounted for.

Looks like I have a new project, out with the shade cloth roof and in with the chicken wire. Always something…