"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chicken Update

A few days ago, as the last thing before climbing into my car and heading for Salina, Kansas I checked in on the chickens to see if they had enough food and water for a couple of days.  They did: water, check----food, check. Alas, I also found a dead and mostly eaten hen on the floor. (Sadly it was Big Mama, the tamest of the entire flock.)

Let the games begin.

I picked her up and carried her down to the creek where I unceremoniously tossed her into the flowing current. I could have buried her, I suppose, and said some kind words over her but the coyotes would have just dug her up anyway. I think I said, "Sorry Babe" as she fluttered down to the water. Life is cruel near a creek. I never said any differently.

     I found my hammer and staples, the tin snips and the heavy chicken wire and started in on repairing the run.  The run was originally built out of large-hole chicken wire which I was pretty skeptical of from the get go; actually, I had never even seen large hole wire before. (I did not build the run, for those who missed that story earlier. It was built for me by some friends, out of the goodness of their hearts, and I love it.)  I had run two extra layers of smaller holed wire around the bottom half of the run earlier in the summer and had quit, after nearly having a heat stroke, deciding to wait until cooler weather to finish. Let me say, right here, that cooler weather came last week and I admit I should have finished the job before now. Be that as it may, I added another layer  on Friday and then had to go back inside and take a shower before I headed north to Wichita for a visit with Brenda. It turned out well because we had a great talk and I got to stay and have supper with her and Randy.
     My neighbor was watching the chickens for me while I was on this trip and I called her several times on my way to Wichita, to ask her to shut the inside door to the coop, but got no answer and then I forgot about calling her in the evening until 10:45 pm and that was too late so I waited until morning.
*cue the ominous music*
     When I called her the next morning she reported that there were three dead chickens in there, all the Barred Rocks. How do the coons know which ones are my favorites??? It breaks my heart.  I asked her to make sure both doors were shut tightly the next night because there was probably a hole in the wire.
    The next morning there were two more dead birds and when I got home today there were three more...no, two more, there were three alive in the coop and one sitting outside on the grass in a trance.  My neighbor later came over and told me she had thrown the chicken out, thinking she was dead. She can't see and is in shock but she isn't dead...yet.
      I spent three hours outside putting up the rest of the tougher wire, going over every place on all sides, the top, the windows EVERYTHING, in the hopes of averting more bloodshed tonight. Sadly, I am not holding out much hope. The remnant is one buff, one red hen that Taylor gave me, one black hen and the white Bantum with the black rimmed tail, the one I thought would be the first to go. In the picture above, three of them are the top three birds, oddly enough.
     I have been out with the rifle once already and will be going out several more  to walk the perimeter. I know, I should sit out there and wait in the dark but I can't seem to sit there for that long. I have also been sitting on metal folding chairs for the last two days and......suffice it to say I don't want to sit for long stretched of time tonight, if I can help it.
       If the hens are alive in the morning I am setting up the electric fence. This is a perfect example of closing the barn door after the cows have gotten out. On second thought I may just load them up and take them to someone else. Apparently I am not meant to have chickens. I'll let you know how it plays out....I know you are anxious to hear all the gory details. Yuk.


Randy and Brenda Cohorn said...

I was so glad you stopped for a visit. It was so good seeing you and though I haven't gotten homesick since I became a "city girl", having friends pop in I'm convinced is the reason.

However, even with all the joy of having my dear friend visit.... I am heartbroken that you went home to a slaughterhouse... So sad. Fortunately, you are a true country girl, and realize that death comes with the "job."

Chickens come and go - but feathering your nest with family and friends will last you a lifetime!

Pat at Turtle Rock Farm said...

I am so very sorry Deb. Very hard to take considering how carefully we try to provide a safe home; even though we respect the circle of life, the food chain.
Sending you love and peace my friend.

Jessica Lena Lehman said...

I'm so sorry!