When you raise livestock predators are one of the biggest worries you will face. After having a fox in our front yard this morning I have been thinking about the balance we try to keep with nature while still protecting our livestock.
Like most who raise animals, we have had to shoot the occasional predator who was threatening our livestock. I will admit there is a certain feeling of satisfaction for me being a woman who is able to handle these situations. Yet at the same time there is a feeling of sadness for the animal who's life I had to take. An animal who is doing the same thing the rest of us do, just trying to survive.
We have fences for some of the animals, but some of the chickens and ducks roam free. We have losses, but do our best to keep them to a minimum. We could confine these animals like we do our goats, but they would not be happy with that and their diet would not give us the healthy, flavorful meat we are trying to provide for our family.
We have also added a beautiful Great Pyrenees dog to our homestead. Few predators venture into the area at night now because they hear him bark and growl. They know that there is a fierce protector ready to do battle if confronted. The hope is that it will mean less loss of life both for our homestead and the wildlife around us.
The fox we saw today was run off. Yet it now knows what is here and that there may be a meal to be had. So I am forced to ask myself if I could shoot such a beautiful creature if it becomes necessary. The answer is probably yes, but only if I had no other choice.
I have learned that some times we face things in life that are hard. We have to balance safety and security with respect for what is around us. It's one of the hardest things we do.