September 28, 2014

The Ladies of the Coop

Back in July we had another chicken tragedy. Nyx, sadly, did not make it. So of our five original hens, only Hades was left, and she was not happy being alone.

We searched craigslist for some new companions pretty quickly to put an end to Hades' lonely distress. We had been thinking of getting another chicken anyway to help them stay warm throughout the winter. We were hoping for a new breed to mix it up a little bit, and we ended up getting two new hens.

A red sex link hen, who is a prolific brown egg layer, and likes to eat from your hand.

A little rough around the edges, easter-egger hen, who lays eggs about the same color as Hades. She's also bottom of the pecking order.

Their former family were getting rid of them because they were picking on their new chicks, so we were a little concerned that they wouldn't get along with Hades either, but Hades is a boss and kicked their butts. Hades and Red got along fine from the beginning, but Hades was a big bully to Connie for quite some time. I'm happy to report that the coop is now harmonious and they have finally embraced their new sisterhood.

{  Yes, one is sitting on the other. Silly chickens!  }

The harmony however was broken the other night, when we were awoken  around 4:30am to chicken screaming. If you have never heard a chicken in a life and death situation, it's a little hard to explain, but it is LOUD! Our ladies all sleep quietly unless there is something bothering them and trying to eat them, so Tyler jumped out of bed to go to their rescue in his pj's and flip flops and a broom. He couldn't find a flash light quick enough but ran down to chase way the predator. He opened their upstairs flap but saw them cuddled up in their normal sleeping arrangement. He figured whatever had been there ran away, and came back to bed. Shortly after, the screaming started again, and so Tyler went down again, armed with a flashlight this time, and saw what he couldn't before. a possum IN their upstairs coop with them. He used the broom to fling him out and came back to bed.

The next day we checked the coop and didn't see how it had gotten in, but Tyler still added some extra precautions around the base.

5;45am the next morning, they start screaming again. This time we both get up (me a little slower than Tyler) I go out to help him and this time he is armed with the broom, his hockey stick, and the decorative hatchet I made him and a wedding gift (!) and he says there's a raccoon in the coop this time! The raccoon was not as cooperative as the possum, so instead he was taking the chickens out one by one and putting them in the garage instead. Unfortunately, when it came to Connie's turn she threw a fit, and got away running crazy through the yard. We had no hope of catching her in the dark, so we left her on her own, and left the coop open for the raccoon to leave at his leisure.

Unfortunately, we have neighbors and we didn't think they enjoyed the wake-up calls two mornings in a row, so we went on egg delivery duty that evening, and left the two neighbors behind us notes with their eggs apologizing for the raucous.

The chickens have been living in the garage the rest of the week, and after a much closer coop inspection we think we found how they were getting in, and have made some additional adjustments to keep the varmint OUT! The Ladies are back in their coop now, and we're hoping for a peaceful night tonight!!


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