Due to sometimes heavy rains, I have not been loft flying my surplus birds. I was surprised when I heard panic in the pens and saw a Coopers Hawk just leaving the left side of my loft and was then gone. I didn’t think too much about it until 5 days later, the same Coopers was back, but this time I was able to see what was taking place.
On both sides of my loft, I have slatted, hinged drop-down release points. My birds are released thru these openings but are not permitted to return thru them. I close them once the birds are out forcing the returning birds to use the traps.
During some recent heavy winds, the top slat on the left side had fallen off permitting English Sparrows to enter the loft. I do not like having the sparrows inside for potential disease problems but had procrastinated in fixing the problem.
Back to the point. The Coop swooped in and took one of the sparrows as it exited the loft and was gone with the catch. That observation explained the first visit by the same hawk and pointed out a flaw in my original article.
To be truly a non-feeding area for the Coopers, I have to remove the sparrows as a food source close to my loft. First, I need to fix the missing slat and continue my practice of not having feed available outside of my loft. During the summer I have had a water source under the right hand release opening for the local doves, quail, pheasants and of course those pesky sparrows. That is now going to be moved 50 yards down the driveway. Just another adaptation in my constant war with the Coopers hawk.
After two days in a shipping box, my small hen (3311-Southern Belle) arrived from her vacation in Florida in excellent condition. She is probably my number two hen with all the things I want in a breeder. On top of that she has proven herself against the best. As soon as she clears quarantine she gets introduced to her new mate and joins seven other breeder pairs. Those pairs are now together.
On another matter: It is time to reserve perches in those one-loft races that start accepting birds Feb. 1st. Several of the more popular races tend to hit their maximums early. I have reserved 12 spots in four races so far and need to add a couple of more within the next week. I plan to add a couple of late hatch races but will wait on those until their current races are complete. Now, I have to go and replace that slat before I forget it again.
May your hens be fertile and their offspring competitive.
Churn Creek Loft