The thing about the chickens – Part 1

Today felt like the first time I have exhaled in 3 months. It was the first day my baby was not in preschool on a different schedule. This meant that I didn’t not have an extra dropoff at 8:45 and pick up at 12:45. This further meant we could eat breakfast and tidy up the family room and feed the chickens and suffer through Jillian Michaels and forget to throw the wet clothes into the dryer.

We could actually stop into the library branch and pay our fines. It’s hard to accumulate the kind of fines I paid today. It was all on Beloved’s card, but let’s be honest…it’s always the parent’s fault. All I will say about this topic is that it feels really good to be back in good standing with the public library system. There’s something very uncomfortable about having a librarian look down on you. To celebrate, we checked out 424 books and 1 DVD. Actually, just 14 books. Just enough to accrue some more fines when we forget to return them.

I will not do that again.

Right.

So, the chickens.  I know people are struggling to sleep at night as they wonder what precisely is our chicken update. It’s been a weird go of things lately. The morning I was scheduled to fly to New York, I went out to feed them and discovered a hen dead inside the coop. The others–being the smart, concerned animals they are–were stepping on their friend as they wandered from the coop into the run and back into the coop.  We took care of that one right as we were leaving for the airport and stapled down a couple of places in the coop. What happened exactly? Did they turn on it? Was it an accidental pecking? Does a Florida Python live in the coop and come out at night? Why did whatever killed it not eat it? It looked like an inside job, but couldn’t be.

I didn’t have time to think about it. I was flying to NYC where the only chickens are the ones who can’t jaywalk successfully.

Apparently we didn’t solve the problem, because that night another one turned up dead. This one was one of our favorites: Phantom. And she was a good layer also. Don’t let the name fool you.  My parents-in-law dealt with that death in our absence. The next night, another one disappeared. This one was just gone…and was still another beloved favored laying hen. Silver. The fat fluffy gray one.  Well, for the love of creamed corn. This had to stop.

The following night, my father in law set a live trap using cat food as bait. He anchored it down with tent stakes. We arrived in town late that same night. The next morning, an ugly, sinister beastly raccoon was pacing back and forth inside that cage. Oh, yeah, buddy. No chicken parmigiana for you last night, eh? Mama’s Boy tried to talk us into releasing it. No way. That thing had been eating my chickens.  I didn’t even sugarcoat my answer to him. Step off, boy. It’s shootin’ time.  I’ll spare you the details of the rest of the story. All I will say is that it made it a whole lot easier to do what was necessary when the beast lunged at me twice from  inside his cage. Game on, fella. Game on.

We haven’t had any more trouble with our chickens.

Well, except for the two roosters. And the water problem. And the fact that they are seriously too dumb to find the door to the coop.

Except for that.