Wednesday, February 26, 2014

adventures in the chicken barn thanks to Winter 2014

It finally happened. I'd had my share of skunks and double digit mice experiences in the chicken barn. But yesterday marked a new experience. And based upon a few days ago of finding broken egg parts scattered about on the barn suspicions were confirmed.  Hello raccoon.
I walked into the barn rather unsuspecting. And as I went through my usual routine of entering, grabbing scoops of whole and cracked corn and adding to the troughs for excited chickens I couldn't help but think it odd that one of the chickens was wondering about outside the barn altogether. (should have taken that as my first clue that something was awry).
Also in the spirit of routine...I always take a glance into the egg laying nests as to what I might find there (simply as a reminder as to what the whole point is of having laying hens to begin with). And to my quite shocking surprise found a visitor that I've never seen in our barn (in spite of rumors that such predators do exist in the neighborhood). There was a raccoon cuddled up all cute inside one of the laying buckets. He even let me pet him.
Naturally at first I thought he'd be aggressive or at the very least defensive that he'd been "caught in the act" of egg stealing. But something seemed a bit "off" with this lil fella. He wasn't the least bit aggressive and was in fact quite shy.
My thoughts immediately went to, "now what do I do?"
Most specifically thoughts of "once an egg stealer always an egg stealer"...and also..."did this guy have anything to do with why the chicken I found wandering outside the barn now seemed to appear injured as I looked closer at her?
As I saw it, I had two choices.  Make relocation preparations or off him. After all...we can't have a raccoon (which always means a family of racoons sooner or later) wreaking havoc on our chickens.
There happens to be a place nearby that is known for helping to rehabilitate wild animals. So I went inside and asked Chris to call them (Nature's Nursery) and see if they would take said raccoon if I could capture it. Turns out, no.
There went my plan. I had already managed to seal up the laying bucket he was holding out inside of and make it portable and secure when I learned that apparently there are DROVEs of such calls into Nature's Nursery and it's just not possible for them to rehab all these fury fellas.
So back to the barn I went and Chris followed. After discussing our options, we decided that maybe the best thing was to release him back into the barn.
Need I say here, not the most brilliant move...but at the same time I must also say here I prefer kindness to animals over the alternative. Foiled! Foiled I say!
Apparently Mr. Coon wasn't injured. Because upon entering the barn today...that chicken who was wandering around outside the barn yesterday? well, she is now a frozen corps. One of the perches has been broken so I'm guessing said coon is a stellar climber. And more eggs destroyed too. That can only mean one thing.
Here we go again, forced to do something I'd rather not have to. He found a winter buffet. And we can't have that. So begins the next round of raccoon wrangling. Wish me luck. I hope there is only one.

No comments:

Post a Comment