The new patio, pieced together from leftover granite and marble countertop pieces.
A little while ago I was out on the new patio area, putting together some planters and trinkets the wife had ordered for the new outdoor space. As I was screwing together the driftwood planter, I heard the characteristic “red alert” bawk-bawk-bawking of panicked chickens. I dropped my tools and sprinted through the covered porch and into the front yard, thinking that a weasel or fox had gotten into Cluckheim Keep despite our iron-clad security setup.
As I ran into the front yard with the shotgun, I saw the cause for the chicken distress swoop out of the sky and hit the chicken run a second time: a buzzard, almost as big as one of our Barred Rock hens (and they are large birds.) He flew off and settled on a tree branch at the edge of the yard.
I brought up the Remington and put the front sight bead on him. It would have been an easy shot, maybe twenty-five yards, a no-brainer with a full choke on a sitting bird.
He just looked at me and the chicken coop as if to say Screw you and your boomstick, hairless ape.
I turned the gun over to the hillside for a safe backstop and let off a shell to scare him off. He looked, spread his wings, and flew off in no particular hurry, as if he knew that he’s a protected species. (Not that I would have shot him even if he wasn’t—they eat rodents and other pests and are way too beautiful to kill, and the chickens are safe from him in the run in any case.)
In summary: birds of prey are beautiful, everything out here in the woods eats chickens, and a solid run enclosed in half-inch hardware cloth is a chicken’s best friend in these parts.