Did I tell y’all that I lost two chickens the week of 9/11? I did. And that it was an opossum that killed them? That brings me to three chickens and a duck. I just want to fill y’all in on what’s happening with all of that. lately.
The coop is safely ensconced in a pen, forming a chicken yard for the girls. It’s probably a good thirty feet by twelve to fifteen feet, giving them plenty of roaming space. They have bushes to hide under, dirt for dust bathing, grass for bug hunting. It’s a good space. And there’s netting over the whole thing to prevent hawks from swooping down and killing them, which was a problem for a while.
The girls have been safe in this enclosure for an entire year. They’ve become accustomed to it, happy with their space. The coop is warm and dry. There are soft places to lay eggs. It’s been very good.
But a month ago that changed. A ‘possum found its way under or over the fence and into the coop, killing Merry and Ginger. Ginger.
It crushed me. Ginger was taken on 9/11. Ginger and Mary Ann were our first two chickens, both more than three years old. Hunny was broken up about it, as Ginger was his work buddy, eating all the bugs he dug up while gardening, keeping him company. Or sitting on his lap and eating his lunch. She was a real rascal. She also loved Jones Chicken Taffy.
So Hunny and Squatch went to work enclosing the base of the coop with strong wire fencing. ‘Possum proofing the space. So far, so good. I think the ‘possum has even given up.
Now we can close off a strong wooden gate at night, keeping Jimmy under the coop and the girls inside. I know they’re beginning to feel safe again because this morning I harvested my first egg since the deaths of the girls. Nervous hens don’t lay well. In addition to nerves, all three are molting.
Here’s the deal – I love my chickens. I especially love Jimmy the Duck. But they’re livestock. Well, Jimmy is more of a pet. The chickens lay eggs and eat bugs. Jimmy keeps an eye on the girls and alerts them to danger during the day. As much as I love them, I realize that life with farm animals is hazardous. Things happen. We can choose to encase them in Fort Knox and have them be miserable, or give them freedom. We’re trying to find a balance between those two and I think we have, for now. Ideally? We’d have acreage and a Great Pyrenees which lives outdoors and protects the flock of all kinds of birds. Some day. Until then …
Cute as he is, Chewy won’t keep them safe. 🙂
Just thought y’all would like a chicken update. It’s been awhile. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Until I write again …