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!

1 comment:

  1. We're thankful for Abe, too - and for a wonderful day with y'all yesterday! Glad that Friendly is going to make it.


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