One of the realities when you keep chickens is making sure that you're prepared to deal with the predators that come a callin' for an oh so tasty meal. In an urban area, like where we live, we've had to run off a few opossum and raccoons that have made their way into the yard. Once, we even spotted an owl in a neighbor's yard, perched on the 20ft trunk of a tree that she was in the process of having cut down. It hung out for awhile, maybe a day or two, and looked like it was eyeing the chickens. But was it? It's hard to say but the bird never tried to take any chickens as far as I know.
While it's entirely possible that the owl was totally lost -- in my almost 20 years of city living that was my first, and only, owl sighting -- we have always had opossum and raccoon living in the city. Sightings are not what I'd describe as being common but they are not unusual. The funny thing is that when they have ended up in the yard they've always managed to make it feel like an accident. Like they were just looking to raid the garbage cans and had no idea about the chickens. And they always seem irritated that we've assumed the worst about their intentions. Ha! It cracks me up just thinking about this because I can see their lil' opossum and raccoon faces as I write this - smug and irritated! Anyway, we're fortunate that, regardless of their intentions, we've not lost any chickens this way. What surprised me is that the absolute worst predators are cats! Pet cats. Stray cats. Doesn't matter. They come into the yard and stalk the chickens. Luckily, this makes the chickens, if they're out of the coop, uncomfortable enough that they make a lot of noise. The noise upsets the dog who, if we're home, goes outside to investigate. The dog hates cats and she'll bark and chase them right out of the yard. On occasion, she's chased them right up into the only tree in the backyard, a 15ft Catalpa tree. She chased one up at 7am this morning, in fact. And, up until about an hour ago, I thought I was going to have to hire someone to get the cat out of the tree. Nine and 1/2 hours in a tree! No water, no food, just sitting at the highest point possible. That's one crazy cat.
Not a quality photo - the lighting was bad this morning and my editing skills are terrible but, as you can see this is how the dog spent her morning: in and out of the house, checking the tree to make sure the cat stayed put or, if not, that she was within striking distance.
So aside from a lunch date that I had previously scheduled and didn't want to miss, my daughter and I did not get any fun activities in today because of the cat in the tree event. In case you're wondering, lunch was Thai, at Basil Spice on South Grand. They don't have a website but you can google them and see a menu and reviews. The friend that I met for lunch - we go here every single time we meet for lunch/dinner. It's our favorite place and the owners are super nice people.