Friday, April 1, 2011

Chaos in the Coop

We've been pretty lucky until now with our laying hens. Twice over the last year we've been home when a hawk has swooped down and pinned a hen to the ground. Chloe saved the first one and I the second from certain death. But our luck ran out last week when a raccoon took one hen when we carelessly left the little chicken door open one night. The truth is, though, that the little chicken door wouldn't have kept a raccoon out anyway; they're incredibly resourceful when they're hungry. After a second killing I made a serious effort to keep the raccoon out of the barn. I still don't know how it got in early last Sunday morning. I found it in the coop in the process of devouring another hen while the rest of the hens were making quite a racket.
This raccoon was a special case. During our first meeting I noticed that one of its hind legs was bloody and hanging in a unusual way. Maybe it had been hit by a car. We stared at each other for a while as it clung to the inside of the chicken wire of the coop, and then at my prompting it exited the way it had come in. I watched it slowly make its way across the garden thinking that it wasn't going to live much longer given its condition. I was wrong about that. I would imagine that killing our chickens was the easiest way for it to eat; it certainly wasn't fast enough to catch anything else. So last Sunday morning I forced it out of the coop, and, strangely, it wandered out and directly into the greenhouse. I followed it with a shovel and that was it for the raccoon. It didn't even bother to try to escape.

1 comment:

helenesheahan said...

Did I ever tell you about our Scituate racoon and the "tail" of the duck. in this case it was three tails, as there were three ducks.
Anyway, first one then the other etc.
Resourceful little buggars. Don't leave the door open as I did.
Score Rudy 0 Racoon 3.