Thursday, February 12, 2009

Backyard Hazards

Last night, I was getting ready for bed, PJs on, book ready, all comfy and snuggled up, when I heard the most horrible noise from my backyard. I didn't immediately react because we tend to have a lot of wildlife in our backyard along with neighborhood pets. But when I heard it the second time, I hustled for the backdoor. I slipped on my husband's shoes, at least 3 sizes too big and ran out back, where the miniature horse and chickens stay. Along the way, I lost both of my shoes.

My backyard is not lit, the only light is a soft glow coming from the chicken coop. However, I could see a white blob moving along the back fence. The noise was terrible. I realized that something had one of my chickens. I have one Houdini chicken which loves to fly over our 6 foot fence to scavenge around our neighbor's yards for tasty treats to eat. It's easy to miss putting her up at night if she's still out gallivanting around town. Which is what must have happened last night when my husband had put up the chickens.

Now, I start screaming and yelling out for the culprit to release her. How it could not be scared, I don't know. There I was, running through the mud in socks, in my pjs and screaming at the top of my lungs. However, this carnivore was not to be cowed. I then saw my white blob of a chicken being pulled over the wall of the horse's shelter. As I approached, I saw the raccoon that had a fierce grip on his meal, my pet. I was within touching distance, however, the raccoon was not going to back down easily. It looked smaller than my chicken. I started banging on this wall and the fence screaming. Finally, the raccoon took off I assume to find an easier drive-thru meal. I tried to pick up my chicken but could not reach over the fence. She, however, high tailed it through my yard. I finally caught up with her. She crouched down, as chickens seem to do when they are resigned to their fate. I picked her up and examined her all over. She only had a small wound on her back and about 40% less feathers than before. It seemed she would be okay. I put her securely up with her sisters and retreated to my bedroom to try to sleep. With one ear alert for more intruder alarms I didn't get as much sleep as I would have liked. In the morning, I went to let the chickens out, skeptical in how she would be doing. Upon opening the door, she bolted out with her sisters for the days activities. Within about 10 minutes, she'd flown over our fence to continue pecking and hunting for food in more interesting surroundings, oblivious to potential dangers.

This is one of the reasons I love my chickens. They seem to totally live in the moment, a lesson I would be smart to learn. They don't brood over past problems or worry about upcoming ones. They just take each day as it arrives. Something to think about.


  1. Good for you on scaring the raccoon off. It is lucky for the chicken she wasn't hurt worse. Those raccoons have some sharp claws and teeth!
    I agree with you about the chickens live in the moment.
    Good post.
    I hope that rascal stays away now!
    Have a great day.

  2. I'm so glad that your chicken is she a layer?