We’ve had chickens now for six months, and for six months we haven’t had an issue with varmints or predators. Oh we’ve had a hawk or two fly over and squawk around, just enough to make Earl nervous, but nothing to alarm us…until lately that is.
Just the other day Mr.Wonderful said, “well, winter is comin’ and that means varmints are gonna be after the chickens.” Curious as to why he would say such an awful thing, I asked, “why do you say that? We haven’t had any problems at all…maybe the varmints won’t know the chickens are here…or maybe they will be scared off by the dogs…or maybe Earl will beat them up!” He just chuckled to himself and replied, “oh they know they’re here all right, they just have had other things to eat, but when it starts getting cold…they’ll come after the chickens…mark my word.” I was a little aggravated by his pessimistic additude…always thinking the worst….so I dismissed his dooms-day warning and went back to my happy carefree chicken world.
Within just a matter of days, his prophetic message of gloom and doom began to come true (I hate it when that happens!) One evening at just about dusk, I went over to put the chickens up. As I rounded the corner and approached the hen house I saw a big fat Red Fox run out of the chicken yard! I was frantic! I ran as fast as I could, hoping and praying I wouldn’t find a chicken massacre when I opened the door. I held my breath and carefully peaked my head in their house…I could not believe my eyes…they were all there, safe and sound, perched up on their roost. They were a little shaken by the visit from the old’ sly fox but no worse for the wear. Those were some lucky chickens!
Fast forward a few weeks when Devin and Caleb walked over to gather eggs and let the chickens out to free range a bit, when they stumbled upon a HUGE king snake! He was about 4 1/2 feet long and was in a nest, all coiled up a around two eggs and another one inside his belly! Devin scooped him up, took him outside and chopped his head off. Out of curiosity (and because they’re guys) they decided to “milk” the egg out to see what kind he ate.
**as a side note** I wonder, why in the world would anyone feel the need to “milk” an egg out of a dead snake? Why not just take the dead snake, egg and all, and throw it off in the woods somewhere? It’s just sort of baffling to me is all…anyway, back to my story.
Caleb had the honors of handling the decapitated serpent and squeezing the egg down the snake, inch by inch, until it finally reached the nearest hole. As it reached the end and rolled out Caleb was shocked to see that it wasn’t an agg at all…it was a golf ball! That stupid snake had eaten one of the golf balls we used to trick the chickens into laying in the nesting box! I guess we did the snake a favor by killing him because that would have been a slow painful death if he would have tried to pass that thing!
Once again we dodged the bullet. All of the chickens and their eggs were still alive and well. Maybe Devin would be wrong…just this once…maybe we could last the winter with no fatalities after all.
I should have known better. Devin is usually right and this time was no different. When I got home today, just like everyday, I took a stroll over to the chickens and let them out to roam a bit. When I got within eyeshot of the chicken yard I noticed a huge hawk flying out of the yard. I ran over to make sure everyone was ok, that’s when I saw it…one of my chickens was dead. That stupid, mean ol’ hawk had killed her. I was just sick. I walked over to see which one it was. It was Maxine, one of the older hens that laid those beautiful blue-green eggs. I quickly went and checked on the rest of the girls and Earl. They were all on the roost…scared to death…but ok. I felt so bad for them. I never dreamed I would get so attached to my chickens, but I have!
What’s next? Well, we will put a net over the yard to keep out the hawks, and maybe set a trap for the fox. And for me? Devin will be teaching me how to shoot a gun so I can do my part to protect my girls! Go ahead varments, make my day!
Thanks for reading! I love you more than farm fresh eggs 😉