We have had two separate incidents in the last week that outline just how diligent we have to be to protect our birds.
The first incidence was last Wednesday. I was gathering the evening eggs (the longer days are bring in a bounty of
eggs) when I opened the Purple Coop to find a possum hissing back at me. It (I have no idea how to determine gender when the thing is hissing at me with its awful teeth) was sitting on two empty egg shells, and the hens were clumped outside the coop, up against the fence, huddled as far away from the thief as they could get.
We have a dog run made up of cyclone fencing panels. To this we have added a running layer of chicken wire that skirts the lower two feet and extends out along the ground in order to deter/prevent burrowing under.
Possums must be able to climb a six-foot cyclone fence. There was no burrowing (we still had snow, so I would have seen the tracks) and no other signs of forced entry.
Perhaps this explains the strange wounds on the hens’ behinds we have been noticing over the last week.
We also were surprised with the appearance of a particular type of weasel the ermine. While the Department of
Natural Resources (DNR) indicates that their presence is rare, we found one…in the garden…with our chicken pens.
Actually, by the time we noticed the varmint, the chickens had already rendered it lame (its back, left leg wasn’t working), so catching it was relatively simple. Let it run under a pallet and then pick it up by the scruff (which is not the approach I took with the possum).
As we relocated it down and across the road, we wondered if we shouldn’t have taken it across the river.
I hope we don’t see either of our two visitors again.
As for the rut, Sonnie, our big, red rooster had taken up arms, once again, to wage war against boots of all sorts. He will defend against all.
- Spent Chickens (viewfromthecoop.wordpress.com)
- For some, fresh eggs worth risk of ruffling feathers (hamptonroads.com)
- The Composting Chicken Yard (trashbackwards.com)