Monday, January 25, 2010

Go With Grace, Sweet Spirit

We're down to 8 chickens now, due to our first predatorial attack last night (or should I say this morning...this very early morning). I don't count the 1 baby chick that Romeo swallowed whole or the two silkies that didn't know how to play with our big dogs. This morning about 5am, Jenna and I both jumped out of bed to the sound of some screeching and the egg song. While we're bumping into each other grabbing robes and shoes to check out the raucous, Jenna flips on the flood light just in time to see a raccoon wrestling with Eleanor, one of our Brahmas. She sprints outside like a crazy person and chases the raccoon off, but the damage had been done. There were white feathers all over the yard, so it looked like Eleanor put up a fight (at least that's what we're telling ourselves). But we had more immediate problems. At least one of the remaining chickens was doing her amazingly loud egg song right there at 5:15 in the morning. Jenna tried picking the loud one up, we tried throwing food out, all to no avail. At one point, we both just stopped and looked at each other wondering what the hell to do? Jenna's upset because she just lost a pet and needed a full night sleep before her long day schmoozing at a conference, and I'm just waiting for the disgruntled neighbor to start throwing things at us. Eventually, the chickens calm back down, Jenna heads back in to try to calm her nerves, and I dispose of Eleanor. It's about 5:45 at this point. Jenna's too wired/upset to go back to sleep so she camps out on the couch with her computer researching raccoon deterrents while glancing out the window at the remaining chickens that are basking in the full 200W shining down on them from all of our floodlights on and aimed in their direction. I doze for about an hour and a half before I get up to start another day. During the day, I received periodic updates from Jenna telling me of things we can do tonight for the chickens. After some research and help from her mother, she gives me a shopping list for tonight's preventative measures. After we both got home this evening, it was after dark so the chickens were roosted on top of the coop. Jenna gently placed each one into the coop/nest boxes and we closed the door on the coop for the first time in about year and a half. After that, we doused a couple of wicks with recently purchased fox urine and posted those at the corners of the coops. I'm pretty sure the ladies will be pretty pissed off in the morning when they realize they've been locked in, but at least they should be safe through the night. I guess this will be our new evening ritual. In retrospect, we've been pretty lucky with our lack of attacks from neighborhood cats, OUR dogs, etc. Hopefully, we can go another year and a half without incident.

RIP Eleanor (2008-2010)


Anonymous said...

I'm so sad to hear about your chicken loss. Around here we have many predators and locking up at night is a necessity. I'm sure your chickens will soon appreciate the positive aspects of "lockup".

jer said...

Thanks for the support. The way I see it is we've been pretty lucky with the lack of incidents so far. So, a little more effort on our part is worth it. So far, so good, too. No more 5am attacks. Keep your fingers crossed. :)