On our farm, we believe in working in harmony with nature. That includes local wildlife. Learning this dance with nature sometimes requires us to take a step back. For the first time, we have had an aerial predator attack. As we approached one of our chicken shelters, we saw a red tail hawk found it’s way inside and helped itself to a meal. We were faced with an option. Break our rules and kill the hawk, or step back and think what the role of the hawk is.
We went inside the chicken shelter, protected ourselves from the talons and got the hawk out. We lost several birds from the attack, but what we gained was a lesson in balance. We found a weak spot in our shelter which is now fixed, and realized, this hawk only took a few birds with it. Other predators would not have been so nice. I can name a few that would have taken out nearly all the chickens. We realize that these other predators would have a tough time getting our chickens with a hawk around, as they too are prey to a hawk. So in a sense, the hawk, while being a predator, is also a guardian. Probably the fact that this was our first attack out in the field should say something. Smaller predators would have to run across open pasture and risk getting snagged up by the hawk. Perhaps with that hawk not around, we would have lost a lot more to ground predators trying to sneak in.
This is balance. This is working with nature. We realized the hawks role. The loss of some of our chickens was on us. With their shelters now stronger, the hawk goes back to the easier meal; small ground predators. We also let our fertile land flourish with a diversity of life including moles, chipmunks, rabbits and more. All which keep the hawks and other predators at bay with an easier meal. This is farming in harmony with nature inside an ecosystem. This is how we don’t force nature to go by our rules, but rather become a partner and dance with all it’s power and abundance.