Saturday, May 29, 2010

'Tis the Season

Since warmer weather is here, our thoughts turn to dealing with the local wildlife.

One pesky visitor has been a squirrel. The nice lady saw it one day eating out of our feeder. Needless to say, she wasn't very happy. She had been wondering why we hens were eating so much feed. I tried to tell her that it wasn't us, but she couldn't understand me. I don't know what happened to that squirrel. I heard a loud boom one day, and I haven't seen it since.

We think we had a raccoon come visit one night, but thankfully, there were no casualties. The pen was sure in a mess the next day, and all of our feed had been eaten. The only evidence found was this set of footprints. I'm pretty sure that raccoon was around here during the fall and winter, too. Raccoons are a year round worry for us chickens.

Black snakes haven't been in our house to eat our eggs. Thank goodness. I think it's because our house sits high up off the ground. I know they're around because I saw Ebony eat a little one the other day. The nice lady is sure careful when she reaches into our house to gather the eggs. I'm afraid we'd have to figure out how to call 911 if she ever grabbed a snake instead of an egg.

A scary snake that hasn't been seen yet this year is the timber rattler. Sometimes it's called a velvet tail rattler. Either name gives me chills.

Last year, the nice lady shot a rattler as it was crawling through our pen! I wasn't living here then, but I was told she shot its head clean off. What a shot! She didn't take pictures of that one, but she kept the rattle. She is hoping that I will be a good luck charm and maybe there won't be any rattlers around here this year. I have my toes crossed for her.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Spring!

I just love springtime! The grass is green and there are more bugs and worms for us to eat. The trees have leaves now, which help protect us from hawks. The days are longer. It's warmer so the nice lady spends more time with us. To quote a friend, "Life is Good."

Here are some pictures of me and my hen friends enjoying springtime.

I wonder how far the nice lady will let us go before she herds us back to the trees?

There is good stuff under the honeysuckle!

Time for a treat from the nice lady. Please, oh, please.

There has to be a nice fat worm down here somewhere!

Oh, look! Ebony found a snake! It won't last long, and that makes the nice lady really happy. To quote another friend, "All snakes are dangerous because they can all cause a heart attack."

Happy Spring to All!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Mystery of the Messy Pen

When I woke up Tuesday morning the pen was a real mess! I guess I slept through the whole thing. The first thing I noticed was that our ramp was almost ripped from its resting place.

Then I saw our red feeding pan. It looked like it had been thrown from its usual place on the cement block, and it was empty! That pan is kept in place by some kind of elastic strap. So, how it got loose from that is a real mystery. However, the water pan was in its usual place and hadn't moved. (Right now I'm hearing the theme song from Twilight Zone.)

Under our house we have a very nice wind, rain, and snow break that is held in place at the bottom by flat cement blocks. The blocks are usually propped up to help hold the metal sheet in place. Well, that wind break was loose on the bottom and the cement blocks had been moved.

When the man and nice lady came out to check things over, they noticed that the gate to our side yard was open and the cement block that helps to secure it was out of place.

All six chickens are fine, and I'm not sure what happened. Could it have been some kind of varmint or was it a ......

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ditto's Demise

The attack by the hawk happened before I came to live at my new home. From what I'm told, it was a horrible event--one that still haunts everybody. Here's the story as it was told to me.


There used to be another hen that lived here. Her name was Ditto. She was a barred rock, like me. Ditto was named after Goofball. Ditto acted like Goofball, but it wouldn't have worked to call her Goofball the Second, so the nice lady named her Ditto.

One day Ditto and the rest of the hens were out on a nice bug and worm hunt.

The leaves had started to fall from the trees so there wasn't as much cover from overhead attacks as usual.

Ditto just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the hawk swooped down and attacked her. It could have been any of the hens, but it was Ditto that was attacked. The nice lady happened upon the crime right after it happened. The hawk flew away as the lady walked up to fence, but it was too late for poor Ditto.

Her body was on the ground, lifeless. The hens that had witnessed the murder were in a traumatized state. They were hiding and trying to let the lady know that a terrible thing had happened. The nice lady ran to get the man. As the story goes, when the man picked up the lifeless, headless body of Ditto, he asked the nice lady if they should clean Ditto and EAT HER! (That can't be true!) The nice lady answered, "NO," to that horrible question, and they buried poor Ditto, with her head.

A few days later, our fence was moved and overhead fencing was added so that we would have cover year-round. Now we just have to be careful when we're outside of our pen. The nice lady is usually there helping us keep watch for those predators in the sky.

There is a memorial to Ditto. We hope it helps to keep those hawks away from us.