Woke up this morning to glorious sunshine and a slight warm breeze. I sat out on the terrace with my morning cuppa watching the animals go about their morning activities.
Since the last time I have posted so much has happened that I don´t really know where to start. We have been struggling here... asking ourselves if we are doing the right thing, should we change or just give up completely.
Let me explain...the Wednesday after my last post, an animal or pack got onto our land and killed all bar 2 of our chickens. It took 9 of our ducks and killed one of our female turkeys. We spent Thursday trying to make it safer but Thursday night it was back...another 3 ducks and the 2 chickens went. When I say went, some disappeared and some were just dead on the land...bodies everywhere!!! It was really heart wrenching. From Friday night we were patrolling every hour with the dogs. We did this until the following Tuesday when we managed to get the barb wire to put up. We have placed it at the top of the fence and along the bottom too. We have placed massive rocks all the way around the outside of the fence and dragged smaller stones up around the inside. 

Looking a bit like a prison...but if it keeps the predators out...we will put up with it!
As you will remember on the Monday I flew to England to see my parents, so I had to leave Kev and Jan to sort it all out...of which I felt very guilty...leaving them to sort the aftermath of the visitor and to deal with any more possible visits.
Any way, while I was away they managed to sort it and we have not had a visit since. It is soul destroying...a year of work increasing breeding stock for this year all wiped out in 2 nights. It made us seriously question what we are doing... after all our animals are our food and it was all gone.
While I was away things seemed to run normally...but I came back to being told our rabbits had died. All of the adult ones just died one night. All of the babies that have the burrows survived but our breeding stock was wiped out. We think it was the cold weather...it just got too cold for them but again it made us question our way of life. If we cannot keep our animals safe, perhaps we should not keep them...it is just not fair...they rely on us and we let them down!
When I arrived home I could see that Jan and Kev were both struggling...our get up and go attitude seemed to have gone somewhere else. We were going through the motions but had lost the spark that kept things moving. We all sat down and had a discussion about what we should do now. Did we want to carry on? After all the negatives had been spilled the positives began to re-emerge...we all decided that there was no way we could go back to previous lives so we just needed to learn from our mistakes and start again. This is where we are at today...picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and trying again.
We have decided to buy a massive shed to lock the animals up in at night. We would normally think about making something like this but we deemed it too important to wait a month and so have ordered one from the internet. We have moved all of the animals back to the front piece of land, nearer the house...they seem to be happier there. We saw this week that Paxo our male turkey has been mating with his hens. This was a real high for us...they still feel safe enough to mate. We have decided to buy another 8 hens, when the shed turns up. We have a massive cockerel that hatched in our incubator last year and he will be our breeding stock for the new hens. We have also decided to buy another, bigger incubator. We intend to incubate 2 lots of 24 eggs in a year to ensure we have enough chicken. This way we will cull in one go rather than a few at a time.
Another bonus is the eggs that Dottie the duck was laying were placed in the incubator after our animal visitor. They should be hatching this week...we have 5 that we think are viable so we just have to wait and see what happens. We do have one small duck hen left so hopefully she will start laying soon too.
This life is full of ups and downs but I have to say this last month has been the worst down ever. I am sure that other people go through this too...but we have had such a sheltered 4 years with just minor set backs that this just really threw us. Hopefully with Spring on the way we are over the worst and we will bounce back stronger than before.

One of our almond trees in full bloom. Spring is on the way!