The princess and her eggs

We’ve been working hard keeping the weeds at bay and getting the garden going this spring, but apparently neglecting the egg collecting. I just gathered what I can only assume is a new record — 26 eggs. Must have been a pretty uncomfortable pile for our setting hen to be trying to keep warm.



Die Raccoons, Die

It’s been a bad week for our chickens. A week or so ago, I walked outside to empty the coffee grounds into the compost and the chickens looked a little despondent and on-edge. I looked a little closer, and then my stomach tied in a knot — there was one of our chickens dead on the ground, with feathers scattered all over the pen. Closer inspection revealed another carcass back in the corner. It was frustrating because we had just moved the chicken coop, and I hadn’t had a chance to fully secure it with chicken wire across the top.

So that day I spent a couple hours in the rain getting everything secure, stapling chicken wire up to the fence and zip tying it together. I even buried a brick in a hole it looked like the raccoon had dug under the fence.

The next morning, there was another chicken missing. Chicken wire had been pried apart, and little openings where I wouldn’t think a raccoon could fit through proved to be ample room to invade through. There was even course grey fur on the chicken wire… evidence that the killer carelessly left behind. And the most unbelievable part was that the brick I had buried was pushed back out of the hole. Apparently those suckers are strong.

So we were down to one chicken (and it’s sad to admit this, but she was my least favorite of the original four). She took to hanging out on the porch and looking in the back door during the day when I would let her out in the yard.

Well, that daytime freedom soon became her demise a couple days later. I left to teach during the afternoon and didn’t think to close her in the coop — the raccoons had always come much later at night. Guess how that ended… Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty terrible about the whole thing. It sucks to have animals die because of my own carelessness. And I didn’t have to hear the chicken being eaten like Alicia did.

In the book “Farm City” I just read, the author catches a possum attacking her chickens and she kills it with a hoe. I can identify with that rage. I’ve been plotting borrowing the family .22 from my grandma’s house and sitting out on the back porch with a glass of whiskey and night-vision goggles; maybe some raw chicken in the coop as bait. But then I was talking to my friend Zack and he said that the legend back in Indiana is that large marshmallows will choke a raccoon. So maybe I’ll back off a little and just put some of those out in the empty coop and see if we can knock off one or two of them.

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Missing Chicken

Grey Chicken after she came home.

Grey Chicken after she came home.

When your chicken goes missing in Seattle, you put up signs. Turns out she had only made it as far as the neighbor’s yard, but it took us half a day to figure that out.

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