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the best brooder for starting chicksMaking a Protein Tub Brooder for Starting Chicks

*This article appeared in Tractor Supply Company's, Out Here Magazine*

Murphy's Law of Farming states that, 'The minute your chicks arrive in the spring so will a cold front'. Making a protein tub brooder keeps chicks warm and healthy.  A protein tub brooder is a more efficient solution than hanging brooder lights, and a protein tub brooder keeps the heat where it should be; surrounding the chicks. They also create a draft free area with plenty of ventilation.

For years we started chicks under hanging heat lamps. The electric bill reflected the inefficiency.

It's important to have more than one protein tub brooder in case the light in one of them burns out there's another warm area for the chicks.

Each protein tub comfortably houses 10 chicks.

If you're starting turkeys read this to prevent early poult flip over

 Supplies:

  •  2 recycled protein tubs or Two muck buckets
  •  2 Brooder Light fixture with wire lamp guard
  •   Lightweight chain
  •  2 *100-watt incandescent bulb or low-wattage heat lamp ( 1 for each bucket)
  •  Pine shavings

* Rough Service incandescent bulbs NOT LED or compact fluorescent

Tools:

  • Black permanent marker
  • sharp knife, jig saw, or drill with 4” hole saw

Instructions:

Wash the protein tub or protein tub.
Flip the protein tub over and trace the outline of the brooder light in the center of the bucket's bottom.
Use a sharp knife or jig saw to cut along the outline. Cut the opening slightly smaller than the outline so the brooder light sits securely on top of the bucket.
Next use a jig saw or drill fitted with a 4” hole saw to cut 3 openings, evenly spaced, around the outer edge (which will become the chick's access to the brooder). Cut the holes an inch above lip of the protein tub. It's important to cut more than one entrance to prevent crowding at the opening. Multiple entrances improve ventilation.

Flip the protein tub over. Hang the brooder lamp from a lightweight chain. The chain is for safety, it prevents the lamp from falling inside the brooder. The brooder lamp should fit snugly on top of the protein tub with the lamp and wire guard sitting inside.
Use a 100 watt incandescent bulb or a low-wattage heat lamp in the fixture. Do not use a compact fluorescent or LED light - they do not generate heat. NEVER use a high wattage heat lamp and Never use a heat lamp with straw!

Spread pine shavings throughout the brooder area, both inside and outside the protein tub, to a thickness of 3 inches. Nestle the buckets into the shavings so the chicks can easily enter and exit the protein tub brooder.

Place feed and water outside the protein tub brooder. The chicks will eat and drink freely and go inside the bucket when they need to warm up.

Before your chicks arrive turn on the lights so that it's a comfortable temperature; 95 degrees the first week, reduced by five degrees each week following. Reducing the temperature is as easy as changing the bulb; a 100 watt bulb (or low-wattage heat lamp depending on the temperature) the first week or two. Change to a 75 watt bulb as the outside temperature warms up. Use brooder lamps until the chicks feather out and the outside temperature is comfortable.

Conclusion

Making a protein tub brooder is an efficient way to keep your chicks warm and healthy. This type of brooder is economical and easy to make. A protein tub brooder will last for years.

On our organic farm getting the chicks off to a healthy start is the key to their successful transition into the pasture. We've experienced fewer losses with better growth rates after making this brooder a part of our poultry plan.

This is the Best Brooder for Starting Chicks!

the bet brooder for starting chicks

Need other great ideas for raising healthy hens?

Check out The Healthy Chicken Handbook

 

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Celebrate April Fool's Day!
Which one is real?

It’s April first again.  Much to the dread of the family, I love April Fools Day.  I dish out pranks pretty well, but I don't enjoy being on the receiving end.

A few years ago I decorated a piece of styrofoam to look like a cake.  It looked good enough to eat.

After dinner I asked Cookie to cut the cake for everyone.  Goober, our young son, got forks, napkins, and plates.

He instructed his big brother on how to cut the cake.  He pointed out which piece he wanted.  As cookie was cutting he looked up at me, "The cake is “really tough”.  He cut through the first piece, and  cried out, “It’s a fake!”  Younger son examined his slice, then he burst into tears.  My fatal error that year was that I didn’t have a real cake to backup the fake one.

I still laugh about it.  As a matter of fact, I’ll be laughing again this year.  Cookie is heading back to Vietnam on Tuesday. So, on Monday, April Fool's Day we're celebrating his birthday.

I have styrofoam ready.

“April 1 This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.”  Mark Twain

The Blizzard of 1888

Today it seems like everyone is prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Cell phones, GPS, four wheel drive, and accurate weather forecasts give a feeling of safety. A false sense of security blankets our instinct to avoid dangerous situations.

Because we farm - we're weather dependent.  We plan for worse case scenarios like feeding hay when equipment won't start, frozen waterlines, power outages, etc. There's a basic plan for just about every weather event.

When the windchill falls below zero the cattle are fed along the timber. The trees make a great windbreak. Bales of hay and straw are unrolled for feed and bedding.

Planning ahead is essential, the livestock depend on us.

Sometimes, when it comes to running errands or grocery shopping, we aren't as diligent and get caught off-guard.

Without moonlight to guide us, our path was illuminated by farmyard lights. We walked through the hills. We parked the truck on the side of the road. It was a surprisingly pleasant evening for a walk, temperatures near 30 degrees, very little wind, the drizzle was nearly over. We watched our footing carefully, a layer of ice covered the ground. As we walked I remembered reading about The Children's Blizzard of 1888.

The Blizzard of 1888

After weeks of bitter cold temperatures a moderate warming was a welcome relief on the prairies. Temperatures approached near 45 degrees on January 12, 1888. Farmers ventured out to replenish supplies of hay and visit town to conduct business. Children, lightly dressed, walked to school. They were eager to see friends, play outdoors, and enjoy the comparatively balmy weather.

In 1888 twenty-two weather stations, overseen by the Signal Corp, monitored weather data and relayed the information by Western Union to sixty “Flag Stations” throughout the prairie states to keep pioneers informed. On this day the message to fly the “cold wave” and “blizzard” flags never reached the volunteer flagmen. Warnings never came or arrived too late for the settlers of the Dakotas and Nebraska. They were caught off guard.

In the Dakota Territory the lunch hour had just ended. Children were at their desks when the wind began to howl in an eerie wail. A dark cloud descended rapidly from the northwest. Within minutes the sun disappeared, by all accounts nightfall had arrived. Ice crystals blasted the clapboard buildings. The wailing wind was deafening. Snow swirled in through every crevice. Gale force winds gusted to nearly eighty miles per hour.

Pioneers that lived through the blizzard of 1873, and the 1880 “snow winter,” where thousands of cattle froze to death on the prairie, had never seen a storm arrive with such speed and violence.

Visibility on this January day was so poor you couldn’t see more than a few inches ahead. Folks on the prairie were snow blinded by the blizzard, many died within a few steps of their homes.  

The Children

Many teachers released school and sent their students into the storm. The children became disoriented and couldn’t find their way home. In other schoolhouses teachers kept their students inside. When the supply of coal, school books, and desk were exhausted they surrounding cold stoves praying for rescue. They clung together for warmth.

Parents anxiously awaited the arrival of their children. Rescue parties searched schools and bare prairies. Hope of finding loved ones faded as the temperature fell and the storm raged on. Mothers stood in doorways calling out for their children. With their voices exhausted they rang cow bells or beat pots. They hoped the sound would direct their children home. The wind chill fell to 30 degrees below zero.

Winter Feeding

Farmers

Farmers watering their cattle or out gathering hay from their stacks got caught by the storm. They knew from experience to get under the storm; visibility is better close to the ground. They crawled to find shelter.

In Minnesota a large number of farmers died when they became disoriented after securing their livestock. They couldn't find their houses which were just steps from their lean-to or dugout barns.

Iowa fared better, the storm didn’t rage here until dusk. Chores and errands were done for the day. In Keokuk, Iowa the temperature plummeted 50 degrees in eight hours. Company B, Second Regiment from Davenport, Iowa was headed to Des Moines to escort William Larabee in his inauguration parade. Company B, trapped by the storm, did not arrive.

The Weather System

The weather term for such a storm is anticyclone. Winds spiral inward toward the center of low pressure in a counter-clockwise pattern. The lowest air pressure was over Iowa and Nebraska. Higher pressure over North Dakota and Montana caused a vacuum effect over the mid-section of the country. Cold rushing air created great friction and static build-up. Snow thunderstorms raged across the plains. A phenomenon known as St. Elmo’s fire caused static build-up. The air was electrified. Sparks emitted from people's fingertips and caused hair to stand on end. The shocks were so fierce the pioneers refused to add fuel to fires.

The Aftermath

Children buried themselves in haystacks, huddled together in darkened classrooms, or froze to death on the prairie while searching for shelter. This was the fate of those caught in the blizzard.

On Friday, January 13, 1888 skies were clear, the air was bitter cold. Relieved students and teachers were grateful to be found alive. One teacher, who had ventured outdoors with her seven students found safety inside a haystack. They were alive, barely. Another teacher acted swiftly when the storm tore the school's roof away. Tying a makeshift rope out of torn cloth she tied her students together. Walking in a line, eyes frozen shut, they hit the side of a building and were saved.

Other unfortunate children got caught in the storm and were found frozen to death.

It's estimated that two hundred fifty fatalities littered the prairies, most of them children. Countless survivors of the initial storm succumbed to infection when frostbitten limbs were amputated. Others perished from pneumonia. It's estimated that this storm claimed five hundred lives.

That was then, This is now

When our truck wasn't able to compete with the ice we packed our gear and started walking. We talked about survival skills and common sense ideas…like staying home.

Weight Loss Without Dieting and Cancer Protection Study
MIG Grazing

A diet of grass based meat works as well as Weight Watchers without having to buy packaged meals, attend meetings, or calculate points. Grass fed meat and dairy are leaner than grain fed products, they also have fewer calories. When it comes to loosing weight, Grass Fed Beef -is the dieter's choice

The typical amount of beef eaten in the U.S. annually is 67 pounds. Changing from grain fed to grass fed beef will save you 16,642 calories per year. A six-ounce beef loin from a grass-fed steer may have 92 fewer calories than a six-ounce loin from a grain-fed steer. Source: Pasture Perfect by Jo Robinson

It's A Big Deal

Loosing 4.75 pounds a year doesn't sound like a huge difference but it only requires switching to grass-fed meat. Adding exercise and calorie restriction amplifies your results. There's a bigger benefit to grass-fed meat than weight loss, though.

Organic Diets Lower Cancer Risks

A new study published in JAMA International Medicine found that eating organic foods can reduce your risk of developing cancer by 25%. Some study participants, the volunteers that ate mostly organic food, were 73% less likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. That's the cancer linked to Monsanto's Round-up (currently there are 8700 plaintiffs suing Monsanto). There is also a significant reduction in postmenopausal breast cancer in consumers of organic foods. 

The researchers were surprised by the enormity of protection that organic food provided. The study followed 68,946 volunteers for four and a half years.

Julia Baudry, the study’s lead author and a researcher with the Center of Research in Epidemiology and Statistics Sorbonne Paris Cité of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research said, "We did expect to find a reduction, but the extent of the reduction is quite important."

She noted the study does not prove an organic diet causes a reduction in cancers, but strongly suggests ,“that an organic-based diet could contribute to reducing cancer risk."

An organic diet may reduce the risk of breast cancer because organic production prohibits pesticide use. Pesticides are endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen function.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified two pesticides, malathion and diazinon, along with the herbicide glyphosate (Round-up)  as probable human carcinogens. All three are linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Grass-fed meat and dairy  are higher in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which researchers have noted lowers the risk of breast cancer. Finnish researchers found that women who consumed the highest amount of CLA had 60% lower risk of breast cancer than those with the least CLA.

Eat Clean in 2019!

Fat Cattle and Lean hogs is an oxymoron, cattle are naturally lean. Hogs are, by nature, fatter. Confinement operations want leaner hogs so they feed ractopamine (Paylean supplements). Again, confinement livestock producers are working against nature.

As a consumer you need to work with your body to promote healthy living. Give yourself a fighting chance, switch to an organic diet that includes grass-fed meat, dairy and eggs it will be a great boost for your health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Your Heart Be Full of ThanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving!

We want to take a moment to let you know how thankful we are for having you as a customer.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Warmest wishes from Forest Hill Farm

A "Corny" Celebration

In New England in 1623, a famine devastated the newly settled Pilgrims. Corn, their primary crop, became so terribly scarce that they rationed it kernel by kernel. Each person was given five kernels a day. That's all! When the famine was finally over, receiving the five kernels of corn became a symbolic ritual. On Thanksgiving Day, people each received five kernels of corn on their plate as a reminder of those hard times - and of their gratitude to God for their many blessings.

The word "thank" comes from an Old English word that means to think. Perhaps we could use this definition to add new meaning to this holiday - this "Thinks-giving."

Thinking people are thankful people. When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, give each person five kernels of corn. Ask individuals to think about each kernel and the blessings it represents:

First kernel- the beauty and bounty of nature God provides.

Second Kernel- our rich heritage of courageous men and women who helped establish this land of freedom.

Third kernel- the work each of us has - in school, at church or on the job - and the privilege of doing it to the best of our abilities.

Fourth kernel- our loved ones, friends, classmates, teammates.

Fifth kernel- God's power and presence throughout our past, present and future.

Make your Thanksgiving celebration a "corny" occasion this year for the whole family. It's a good way to think about how fortunate we really are.

From the Norway Lutheran Church 150th anniversary cookbook, Saint Olaf, Iowa

 

Let Your Heart be Full of ThanksgivingTurkey Brining Recipe

2 gallons water
1 can apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup sea salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 TBS peppercorns
1 cup brown sugar
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 oranges, cut in quarters

Mix all the ingredients together. Place thawed turkey In a food grade bucket or brining bag. Pour in brine. Refrigerate for 24 – 48 hours. Rinse turkey and pat dry. Bake or smoke turkey according to your favorite recipe.

Let your heart be full of Thanksgiving

Let Your Heart Be Full of Thanksgiving!

Welcome a stranger,
Seek out a forgotten friend
Keep a promise
Laugh
Listen
Brighten the heart of a child
Encourage the young
Express your gratitude
Be gentle
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth
Speak your love
Speak it once again…
And
Let your heart be filled with

THANKSGIVING

Healing with Honey

A few years ago Eva, our shepherd was in an accident. She had a wound on her paw that wouldn't heal. For over a year we tried several remedies. She wore boots like the dog's in the Iditarod, took antibiotics, went through miles of bandaging, nothing worked until she started healing with honey.

One veterinarian suggested re-breaking her leg to readjust the rod and plate. The theory that if Eva could walk straighter it would take pressure off the wounded paw. That seemed like a traumatic solution.

Then a family friend, who's also a veterinarian, suggested sugaring or honeying the wound. I decided to use crystallized honey. Every day we cleaned Eva's paw, spread honey on the wound and bandaged it. She started healing within a few days. By months end the healing was nearly complete.

Applying honey is a simple solution.

Bacteria can't grow in a high sugar environment and honey is naturally antimicrobial.

Healing properties of honey are well documented. Organic honey is perfect for healing cuts, burns, skin ulcers and surgical wounds.

The Results of Honey's Healing

Healing with Honey
Before Applying Honey

 

 

 

 

 

Healing with Honey
1 Week after Applying Honey, The white area is new tissue growth

 

 

 

 

 

Honey can Heal...

Case studies, laboratory research, and clinical trials confirm honey heals many ailments and has revealed surprising insights:

  • Consuming honey instead of sugar reduces weight gain, improves memory and reduces anxiety
  • Diabetic ulcers and infected wounds that stagnate under traditional care heal rapidly with honey
  • Burn victims and amputees, including civilian casualties during the Iraq war, respond well to honey bandages, making painful skin grafts unnecessary
  • A spoonful of honey helps alleviate side effects of head or neck radiation in cancer patients
  • Honey proves more effective and safer than children's cough medicines
  • Functioning as both a prebiotic and probiotic, honey stimulates intestinal health
  • Cataracts respond well to honey from sting-less bees from South America

This list is from the book, Two Million Blossoms; Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey, by Kristen S. Traynor, M.S.

In addition to the healing property of honey, another reason to keep pesticide free, pure and clean is that studies show pesticides threaten not only bees learning and memory but humans, as well.

Pesticides Influence Bee Learning, Memory

Royal Holloway University of London compiled a decade of studies on agrochemical research and the affect on bees. Their research determined that even at very low field-realistic dosages pesticides significantly reduced the bees ability to memorize rewarding scents which are a vital component in their search for food. Exposed bees had trouble remembering what type of flower to visit, where to find flowers, and which flowers they'd already drained of nectar. And at very low doses of pesticide exposure bees had difficulty finding their way back to the hive.

What does this mean for you – is Alzheimer’s in your future

Since the repeal of Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) it's not easy to identify where fruits, vegetables and meat is coming from. 75% of grass-fed beef is imported. Other countries allow classes of pesticides banned in the United States. Consuming these products increases your exposure.

Studies link pesticides Alzheimer’s

DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was used extensively as an insecticide in the 1940s, but has been banned in the United States since 1972 after scientists linked the compound to wildlife health and environmental concerns. DDT is still used in other countries to combat the spread of malaria.

"We have additional studies underway that will seek to directly link DDT exposure to Alzheimer's disease," said co-author Dr. Dwight German, Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern. "If a direct link is made, our hope is to then identify the presence of DDE in blood samples from people at an early age and administer treatments to remove it."

The study found elevated levels of DDE in blood samples of 86 patients with Alzheimer's disease as compared to 79 control patients from the UT Southwestern Alzheimer's Disease Center and the Emory University Alzheimer's Disease Center.

Source: UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution's faculty includes many distinguished members, including five who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985.

Your Children and Pesticides

Beyond Pesticides has a Pesticide-induced Disease Database which sites studies and research about children's exposure to agrochemicals. Visit their site to educate and protect your family.

Limiting your families exposure is as simple as switching to an organic diet. You can do that by growing your own fruits and vegetables, buying organic meat and dairy, and by using clean products around your home.

Remember, You have control over your families health.

celebrate bees

Ram on the Lamb
 Ram on the Lamb
In August we bought a ten month old Dorper ram to begin breeding ewes in November.
 
Two weeks later he disappeared.
 
We searched.
No Luck.
Called neighbors.
No sightings.
Put a notice on the radio.
No calls.
 
Ten days later our friend, Ron called, "Your ram is heading up the road by my place. We’ve got ewes in the barnyard, that should get his attention."
 
As we pulled up to Ron's place a few minutes later.  He started shaking his head, "Sorry, he ran past and didn't even glance at the ewes." Ron lives about four miles from us.
 
We searched the area.
No luck.
We talked with Ron's neighbors.
No sightings.
We were puzzled.
 
For the next five weeks there was no word on the ram.
 
During the time he was gone decided that if we got him back we’d sell him, and not to use him for breeding. We thought he might be unsuitable or lead our ewes away from the farm.
 
Then early one morning our friend David called, "Hey, I spotted your Ram this morning."
 
Where?"
 
He started laughing, "He's about 50 yards away, standing outside your gate."
 
That afternoon I ran into a wise friend and retired veterinarian, Merle. "Congratulations, I heard you got your ram back." News travels fast in a small town.
 
I shared our concerns about keeping the ram.
 
Merle asked if the ram came from a large farm.
 
He did, the breeder had about 1000 head.
 
Merle smiled, "He's young and he got bullied. He wasn't dominant in the herd and he's conditioned to avoid confrontation. Based on his age he's never bred and doesn't know what he's here for."
 
Merle had the cure, "Take one of your older gentle ewes and put them together. He'll figure it out."
 
I followed instructions.
 
Three minutes later the ram understood his calling. He's not interested in leaving now, he’s got other things on his mind.
This spring his first crop of lambs will be here.
ram on the lamb

Celebrate Bees

In the early spring, when the apple, peach and cherry trees are blossoming I keep the bees interested in pollinating the fruit trees by cutting the grass very short. This keeps the dandelions down until after the trees have finished blooming. It’s my trick to get bigger fruit crops.

Later in the spring there are still plenty of dandelions to keep the bees happy . And there's a variety of clovers and flowers planted for the bees, too.  It’s a pollinator paradise.

Bee FriendlyCelebrate Bees

On a trip to Seed Savers Exchange I bought Blue Boy Bachelor’s Button, Lambs Ear, and Heritage Farm Poppy seeds. The bees love these.

On our farm the pollinators are safe from  pesticides and herbicides. We’re an organic farm, it’s all about health and quality of life.

Recipes to Help Both You and the Bees

Honey Lemonadecelebrate bees

This lemonade is a great energy booster. Not only does it taste great it helps the honey bees and your local beekeeper.

  • 1 cup Fresh squeezed lemon Juice (if you don’t have a citrus juicer this one works great)
  • 1 cup local honey (support a local beekeeper, don’t by commercial honey, It's probably not be real honey, anyway)
  • 6 cups water
  • Put the honey and lemon juice in a blender and mix at high-speed for one minute.
  • Pour into a pitcher, add  water and ENJOY!
  • You can add fresh fruit, raspberries or strawberries taste great. Adding ginger or mint is an extra tasty treat, too.
  • Meyer lemons make this even better, they’re sweeter than regular lemons. When they’re available buy them in bulk and freeze the juice.

Bug Jugs and Bee Safe HerbicideCelebrate Bees

Plant bee friendly gardens and keep them pesticide free. These recipes protect your fruit trees and kill weeds without using glyphosate.

Save the Bees!

 

 

Save

Poultry Feed

Poultry feed

I love this picture. The grasshopper catcher is a perfect example of Necessity being the Mother of Invention. Insects are a great source of protein. Free range poultry fill up on grasshoppers keeping the pests under control. It's a seasonal feast, though. The pioneers solved this by catching grasshoppers in the hayfield and drying them for winter feed. This is just one example of alternatives to corn and soybeans.

Summer through fall our chickens, ducks and turkeys move through the pasture catching insects and eating greens. Take advantage this summer and send the kids outside with a net and a bucket. Let them catch bugs. Have them turn over rocks and look under logs. They'll find plenty to feed the chickens.

A couple of years ago I heard about the benefits of goji  berries so I planted some. They're full of vitamins but they taste terrible. Now, instead of using them myself, I dry them for chicken feed. Apparently the chickens don't mind the bitter flavor. Goji berries are easily dried and stored for year round use.

In certain areas of the country its not easy to buy small grains. Here in Iowa corn is king, followed by soybeans. Finding wheat is tough – no one grows it commercially in this area. There's no market for it here. Growing food plots gives the flock both exercise and superior nutrition. Plus, you'll have healthy eggs and meat. A food plot of small grains; wheat, oats, and barley inter seeded with clover and alfalfa provides a balanced diet when grazed green or cut and dried for winter feed. These plots are terrific for growing chicken feed.

This is the time of year to think about feeding the flock in the winter. Learn to sprout grains or grow fodder. The nutritional value of the two is quite different. In sprouted grains the white tap-root is full of enzymes. Once a green shoot develops the enzymes are lost to the sprout, but the green sprout is full of health qualities, too. Your hens will be healthier with the forethought.

And, if you'd like healthy meat and you're not raising poultry yourself we'd be happy to have you as a customer.

Need more great tips on feeding chickens?

Check out The Healthy Chicken Handbook

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Muscovy Duck Can FlyMuscovy Duck Can Fly

Keith hung up the phone, “Are we missing a duck?”

“I don’t think so, why?”

“Robin called, there’s a duck sitting under her pine tree. She said two eagles were attacking it as it flew into her tree this morning.”

Robin lives across the field and down the hill from us. It’s a good distance from our farm.

I checked the barnyard. Sure enough, one of our Muscovy hens was missing. I called Robin back. She explained that she saw two eagles chasing after a white bird. Looking closer she realized they were attacking a duck. The duck flew into the center of the pine’s branches. The eagles alighted at the top of the tree. Eventually the duck fell to the ground and rested under the tree where the branches camouflaged her from the eagle’s view. She sat quietly at the tree’s base.

Earlier in the morning Maisey was sitting under our pine tree barking at a bald eagle perched above her. Miley sat off to the side, eyes fixed on the bird. These two dogs keep the farm safe from predators, however, they're not equipped for airborne assaults. Neither was the duck.

Muscovy duck can fly. They don’t usually fly very far. They’ll fly from the barnyard to the pond or just circle the barn a time or two.

Once the hen was back home we gave her a thorough exam. She’s missing a few primarily flight feathers and was in shock, otherwise she seemed fine.

She’s started laying eggs again. More than likely she’s grounded until her ducklings hatch. So, until then, Maisey and Miley are on guard.  Eva and Spike don’t pay attention to eagles and Grant’s the most likely to get carried off. His saving grace is the fact that he’s exceptionally heavy, which is a nice way of saying he’s fat.