An Organic Chicken Farm in Georgia Has Become an Endless Buffet for Bald Eagles
Sunday, September 18 2016 @ 05:01 PM EDT
Contributed by: karenbills
Dozens of the raptors crash White Oak Farms each winter to dine on its fields of pasture-raised poultry. With little recourse, the farmers are racing to adapt.
In a battle between a Bald Eagle and a chicken, the chicken is definitely the long shot. And yet you can’t help but root for the eagle. It is a magnificent creature, precision-built to do two things that reliably fill humans with awe—fly and kill—and it looks completely at ease doing both. Swooping down, the eagle unfurls its hand-like claws, scoops up a chicken, and sweeps up to a tree, whereupon the larger bird lays the smaller bird on a branch to allow for easy consumption. It’s unclear exactly when the chicken dies, but the eagle’s beak is quite effective at pulling out the other bird’s meat. After a few minutes, all that remains is a clump of feathers and discarded viscera. These gory leavings splatter anything below the tall oaks at White Oak Pastures, a family farm in rural Georgia—including, one morning, Jenni Harris’s SUV.
Jenni’s father, Will Harris, the fourth-generation owner of White Oak Pastures in the tiny town of Bluffton (population: 100), is laughing as he tells me about the gut-drenched vehicle. Jenni was unperturbed, he explains; she simply wiped the bloody goo off the windshield before driving away.
What else could she do? The slaughter here is relentless. White Oak is home to one of the largest pastured chicken flocks in the country; at any given time, 60,000 birds wander the land in accordance with pasture-raised parameters. As the next level beyond free-range, this farm never contains its adult birds indoors, instead allowing them to roam without restraint at all times. This also means that for the Bald Eagles that showed up a few years ago, White Oak is an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Read the rest of the story and see the pictures here: