Thursday, November 22, 2012

Keeping chickens

"Keeping" describes exactly what we try to do with chickens. Not that chickens are difficult to care for: they aren't, but they are hard to hold on to. Two weeks ago, I heard an acquaintance lost all of her chickens except the rooster, and I saw this post on my facebook newsfeed this week:
I question why four people "like" this.
Watson does an admirable job keeping hawks away, so we haven't really had too much trouble with predators until this week.

Monday morning about 3 am, the dog must have heard something in the yard.  His whining woke Abe. Fortunately for our chickens, Abe is a light sleeper and got up with a sense that something was amiss. He went outside and sure enough, found a possum had been in the chicken coop.  Friendly (one of our very first chickens and a very sweet Rhode Island Red) had been frightened into a corner, wedged under some pressure washing equipment. That rotten possum had torn her tail feathers and left a serious wound on her (you know what?) chicken butt.

So Abe shot the possum with a BB gun, shushed the other hens and herded them as best he could back to their roost.  It turns out that our kitten-harassin' boot-lickin', chicken-chasin' coon hound loves our hens after all, and I am so thankful for my light-sleepin', BB-gun-shootin', possum-killin', chicken-protectin' husband. I don't even mind how redneck I sound to tell about it.

Friendly seems to be pulling through. So if I can have another moral to this story, it's to raise fat chickens.
  • Fat chickens are harder for hawks to carry.
  • Fat chickens can't easily fly or fit through fences (which, unless you leave the gate open - not that we know anything about that at our house - is how chickens encounter possums in the first place).
  • Fat chickens don't have as many places to hide if they scatter at night and you have to search the yard in the cold looking for them.
  • By the way, having a fat kitty has most of the same advantages. Get one!

Friday, November 9, 2012

the cold and catching up

Did I miss fall entirely?  Stores are pushing Christmas decorations but I feel like we hardly even had zucchini this year.  September, October and nine days of November have gone by while I've been all wrapped up in work. It's time for me to find a balance.

preparing for our winter gardenThe greenhouse is re-insulated and sealed for winter weather just in time for the two freezes we've had this week.  I'm grateful that somehow the baby lettuces in our raised bed seem to have survived.

raised bed gardening