Monday, August 27, 2012

Coyotes Circling the Henhouse

I was awoken Friday night to a din that sounded like a pack of dogs. “A pack of dogs” was the first thing that went through my mind, even though I’ve never actually witnessed a pack of dogs! It was 2am and it sounded like the many neighborhood dogs had gotten loose and were staging a mutiny. Then there was a whistle or a yell and all went quiet. The next day, we discovered that three coyotes had been spotted a short block away, bringing the occasional news stories of wildlife encroaching suburbia that much closer to home.
Earlier in the summer, a black bear wandered into our town, to later be tranquilized out of a tree by police in a nearby town. In that instance, the apprehending, social media-savvy, police department sent a humorous tweet, with all due respect to Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle: “Black Bear, Black Bear, what do you see? I see Brookline Police looking at me!”

I live in a sleepy little bedroom suburb of Boston. When did we begin to become so wild?! I suppose it has been gradual. There have always been the skunks, opossums, red-tailed hawks, and the occasional red fox. My friend helped the local animal warden corner a fisher cat a few years ago, which seemed rather exotic. I keep an eye out for deer off the exit ramp into our town and there is a definite spike in the bunny population. So maybe that is what is bringing the coyotes into town. From where?! The woods where my children play?! Hmm. Getting off-topic.

So, part of this realization about my surroundings is an evolving learning process for me. My neighbor diagonally across from me has three chickens, and has had them for years. It is a little unusual, but it fits with their strategy to acquire every potentially domesticated creature known to man, in their (successful) attempt to avoid getting a dog! I’ve gotten used to the chickens in the morning, as I lay awake, unable to sleep past 5am but equally unable to get out of bed until 6am.
But I was still surprised to hear, on further evaluation of the coyote situation, that my neighbor three doors down also has chickens (5 or 6!). And my friend who lives across the street from the coyote siting has chickens! I am certainly late to spot a trend. Those are only the ones I now know of. Now I see why the coyotes like my neighborhood so much!

All of these neighbors are Facebook friends with Red Cupboard, so I felt my worlds colliding as I read about a Facebook Page contest in which one of the finalists is none other than “The Chicken Chick,” an advocate for backyard chicken-keeping!

So for my favorite chicken-keepers and everyone else looking for small business Facebook page ideas, here are some great examples of small business pages with commanding Facebook presence and whose owners have faithfully kept them updated, generating high marks for fan engagement: The Social Media Examiner Top Small Business Facebook Finalists post. If you are looking for ways to improve your Facebook presence and engage your fans, these finalists offer some real-world examples of how it can be done.

Now, to see about getting myself some fresh eggs.


  1. I love this article! I am in your neighborhood and I can add to your sitings list. I have seen a fox, a huge buck, a family of turkeys with 11 babies, and to add to the exotic list, there was a fisher cat.

    Also at Mitchell Elementary a hawk plucked a fish right out of the coy pond in the courtyard where the kids play. They have it now fenced off for safe viewing.

    I love the nature aspect of our suburb. As long as we stay safe and are respectful, its really cool to share our space with animals.

    Nancy your Neighbor

  2. Fisher cat! That was it, rather than pole cat! Thanks Nancy

  3. Thanks, Kathy - I will take a look at the link, as your suggestions are spot on! I really enjoy reading what you write!

    I agree that seeing these wild animals cruising our streets from time to time is exciting. There is something so magestic about those big turkeys - did you know those big fat bird can fly? Early one morning, I saw two fly up to the top of my neighbors roof!

    As far as the chickens go, I don't think the wild animals are getting many of their meals from our domestic chickens. I did have a fox check out my chickens, but he hasn't been back. If the chickens were allowed to range free, that might be another story. I would suspect that wild animals have lived in our neighborhood for a long time and that our increased encounters with them have more to do with their homes being disrupted by development, than their desire to prey on the chickens. I certainly don't think the bear came to Needham looking for chickens, as there are many more chickens in other towns!

    You can come on by for fresh eggs anytime!