Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicken Coop Trauma

We have chickens. Lot's of chickens. We ordered 10 chickens for Little Buckaroo's 4-H project this year. I was excited, fresh eggs for the family and the extras we could sell at the Farmer's Market.

Yea, best laid plans. The 4-H truck delivers the chickens throughout the state to the different 4-H clubs. We were the last stop. There were 100 left on the truck. Yea, we brought home 100 baby chicks.

Thankfully, there were area 4-H'ers that needed chickens so we ended up with 28 chickens.
Then Lucky decided that he liked chicken, so we were down to 24. Bad dog.

They get to go out on fresh grass in the afternoons so now I have to chain Lucky (appropriate name because he is lucky to be alive) up. Then, at dusk when they go in, I let him off the chain.

The chickens started laying eggs the week of the last Farmer's Market for the season. So, now I get about 22 eggs a day. Call me if you need eggs, cluck, cluck.

Oh yea, the chicken trauma. So, whenever Big Buckaroo goes out of town there is inevitably going to be a chicken trauma. A few weeks ago, I heard a bit of a ruckus at about 10:30 p.m. and went out with a flashlight. All looked well until I looked up here (see photo below).
There were 3 hens up there roosting because they did not make it back into the hen house before I closed the door. I know, I really should count the girls. I spent the next 30 minutes in my pajamas with a boat oar trying to coax them down and get them in the hen house for the night. I kept looking around to make sure I was not on candid camera. Ugh, life on a mini-farm.

So, last weekend while Big Buckaroo was out of town hunting, I went to get eggs and there were only 5 in there with all the rest broken. Yea, I forgot to get them the day before and someone benefited from my absentmindedness, glad someone benefits from it. Plus, there were some wing feathers on the ground, uh oh, not good.

The next day I made sure before dark that all the girls were inside and all the eggs were picked up. I heard a ruckus at about 11:20 p.m. Lucky was inside with me so he could guard the family during the night (if he could hear anything over his snoring). It was the rooster and a couple of hens making it sound like a Desperate Housewives cat fight.

I went outside, did not see anything. I started back in, turned around and looked up. In a tree by the chicken coop sat.....

a possum!

What to do???? Where is Big Buckaroo???? I want my mommy! (not that she could help, she is afraid of chickens)

I went inside and got a pellet gun, I thought I would scare it out of the tree and maybe Lucky would run it off. Did not work. Neither did the rock I threw up at him.

At this point I am thinking how did I go from Memphis chic to chic defender?

I knew that if I did not take care of this situation I would have some dead chickens in the morning. So, I went inside to get the shotgun. Not a good idea because I am scared of it kicking back and bruising my shoulder. But, I was being bold, I had to defend Tara. Oh wait, I am not Scarlett.

I went back out with the gun, aimed, then stopped, talked to myself a while, aimed again. This went on for about 3 minutes. I finally got up the nerve, took off the safety and.....click. There was not a shell in it. I could not go through that again. So I walked back to put the gun up and thought about what Big Buckaroo would do.

Well, he would have put a shell in the shotgun, but anyway, I decided to get the small animal trap, put some dog food in it and hope for the best.

The next morning I went out and SUCCESS. I had trapped a possum, I am a real country girl now. Just call me Elly Mae. Woohoo!

Next predicament ~ my husband was not home to relocate it, I was surely not picking that cage up, have it hiss at me and risk it rushing out and attacking me. What to do, what to do????

Thanks park maintenance for giving ugly, nasty possum a new home about 5 miles from us!

Going to make eggs Benedict,
The Chicken Whisperer

***Disclaimer: We are very good to our animals, all of them, from the rabbit to the dog to the goats to the chickens to the brand new Texas brown tarantula that I would rather not be good to, but I am. Just had to say that, there are some crazy folks out there who would want to cause a ruckus over me permanently eliminating (which I did not) a possum that was about to kill my chickens.


Spicy Magnolia said...

Trauma is right! Goodness, I'm so glad it was you and not me out there...good job!

Houston said...

I'm laughing as I think about the nasty possums we had in Florida, they make the worst noises, plus I can picture myself doing exactly what you did with the shotgun! Hope you have a possum-less day.

Dawn said...

Possums are nasty! And, I HAVE actually had to shoot one, back in the day. That of course leads to the "Now what do I do with the dead possum body" discussion. Ha.

Amanda said...

Oh this made me laugh out loud. My favorite part is the shotgun sans shell. I don't know if I'd even be brave enough to try the shotgun myself (Though, we live in a subdivision, so it's probably better that I don't try it).
BTW, I found you through PW, and I'm hooked. Great blog!

Viki said...

That is one mean looking possum. I have a possum story and it was in the city. Our dog was outside at night and I opened the door thinking I was going to let him in. There was a possum running across the fence and the dog was chasing down below.The possum fell off the fence and the dog (he was a small dog about 15 pounds) picked it up in his mouth and shook it. I yelled for my husband and he came out and threw a big cement block on it a couple of times and put it in a garbage bag. The next morning when we got up and he went to get the garbage bag the possum was gone. They must be pretty much invincible if it could get hit with a cement block and survive, scary LOL.

upnorth said...

Thanks for checking out my blog!!! I really like yours. And to answer your questions, yes you could use the pumpkin trick for brownies!!

Brett and Jill said...

Way to go!!! I am so proud that you caught that possum on your own.

Jenna said...

Haha Hilarious. I had a similar expeience with our chickens last year, which involved me chasing three of them around the barnyard in 5in heels :)

I came over from your best Blog Friend's blog. I just wanted to say hello to a fellow Arkansas Blogger! I'm following you now!!

BubblesandMoney said...

I am impressed.

Ali said...

Those possums are scary looking!

Melissa Stover said...

good for you! did you take that picture of the possum because if you did i'm highly, highly impressed. scary!

texasrose said...

ohhh how i know the "uh-oh" feeling of some fowl gone a-foul! never fails every time my hubby is gone the guineas decide to roost on top of the barn, the 1 1/2 story barn... i'm already wearing his 3 sizes too big boots (they've already got the feces funk on them so why dirty up my pretty boots i ask you?) and now i have to stand on a too short stepladder to chase them off the gutter rim of the roof with a two-by-four. i've looked for the candid cameras also.

Taylor said...

You are a brave woman! I would have just cried and sucked my thumb!

mindy@thesuburbanlife said...

I live smack dab in the middle of what I believe is "possum land." I hate those things. They're mean, hissy and sneaky. (Kind of like my ex-boyfriend and I don't like him either.) Anyhoo, you kicked some serious behind to save your chickens. From all of us who would have hidden behind the couch until it all went away...we salute you! =)

Tracie said...

You go girl!! We used to have possums in the woods behind my house when I was growing up and those things are mean!!

Taking aim with the shell-less shotgun is so funny....I can absolutely see that happening to me!

Flying Squirrel Fan said...

Reminds me of two things...one about Big Buckaroo not knowing what to do with an animal in a cage too...of course that time it was a skunk! I believe the loving Park Wife told us she would still give us dinner but we would have to eat it outside if we got sprayed. The other was one time when a possum tried to get in my chickens. I trapped it under a 5 gallon bucket until dad got home:)

Nezzy said...

Way to go Elle Mae!!! Possums are nasty critters but so much better in a trap than skunks! Once a dog get a taste of chicken there hooked, good luck on that.

Ya'll have yourself a fantastically blessed day void of chicken eaters and possums!

Kelli said...

Oh my gracious! The, "Momma's afraid of chickens" comment had me rolling! So glad you found help in getting that possum to a new home. Also, congrats on all your new followers, too! That Ree sure is a nice lady!
Kelli @ SustainingCreativity