In the space of just a couple of weeks we managed to lose four hens. That was three layers and one not-quite-yet layer. Ouch! Going out to tend to my chickens early in the morning and finding a carcase is NOT my favorite activity. Fortunately, Mr. Marvelous was still at the house every time it happened, and he graciously dug holes for me.
Our little pullet (that's the technical term for a not-quite-yet layer) seemed to have fallen off the roost and either broke her neck or just wedged herself in where she couldn't move or something. The other three were victims of a possum.
Do you know how hard it is to kill a possum?! It seems to be a lot harder than killing hens!
We kept thinking that if we just pulled the wire a little tighter here, mended the electric fence there, or added another wire tie to make things a little tighter over yonder, then we could make it through until winter when we would completely reconfigure the existing chicken pen.
Especially since we have put a good bit of time and energy into renovating the hen house within the past couple of months.
After digging a fourth hole, Mr. Marvelous had had enough. That's when we realized that we have a large tractor sitting in the back yard doing nothing. So several Saturdays ago, Mr. Marvelous got busy rewiring the electric fence and got the large hoop-house tractor back in service.
And speaking of a fuss in the night and grabbing the shotgun.....
Earlier this week we were awakened at 2:15 am (0215 if you are military or wear an insulin pump). We both jumped out of bed and while Mr. Marvelous was loading the shotgun and grabbing extra shells, I was grabbing my glasses and the flashlight and out the door we went. Once we got out there and woke up a little bit we realized it was coyotes howling. They started out over at the neighbors and then were circling around the ridge behind us. Finally they stopped howling for a moment (and their howls are creepy) and Mr. Marvelous heard one of them down in the gulley behind the house. We went over to the edge where we saw eyes, so he took a shot. Honestly, it was as much about making a noise to scare them into the next county as it was actually getting a shot (sorry, Jefferson County residents!). We stood there for a minute trying to figure out if we had gotten one or not, then turned to walk up the driveway back to the house. As we got even with the house, here came Mr. Marvelous, Jr. fully clothed, carrying his pistol and his mag lite with a spare clip in his pocket. No, the coyotes did not wake him up, the shotgun did. In the time between Mr. Marvelous taking a shot and us turning around and getting half-way up the driveway, Jr. heard the shot, rolled out of bed, dressed, got his gun and a spare clip, got his light, and was halfway down the driveway! Once we all got back into the house, Mr. Marvelous and I were conversationed about next time please make sure we wake Jr. up before we shoot the gun instead of leaving him to wonder what in the world is going on?! Come to think of it, we were conversationed more than once...!
In case you have never heard a pack of coyotes, here is a link to a Youtube clip.
Warning: you might want to make sure there are no pets in your lap or babies sleeping nearby.