Farm-ish · Poultry

Damned Raccoons

Two days before we left for DragonCon, my husband was working late night (as he does) and noticed eyes up at the run.

This lead to the positive identification of the intruders — two raccoons. At that point, there were six hens (out of approximately three dozen birds) and two roosters left. The roosters attempted to help husband chase off the intruders.

Less than thirty-six hours later, I made it up to the coop, to prep/care for everyone before we left for a week. (Yes, I had coverage for feed/care over the duration.)

… And I found all three remaining hens, huddled in fear. 🙁 I found only feathers and one possible piece of body left of the other birds.

I promptly put the survivors into an open rabbit cage, and swapped out that feeder for a closed bottom one. The rabbit water system is close enough in function to the chicken water that they figured it out. It’s not ideal, but it’s kept them alive. It also meant that my plan to split up the grow out rabbit cages into those open cages had to be nixxed, but life’s like that some times.

The raccoons have ignored and avoided all of the live traps, even the one I put into the area where they were killing chickens. Also despite the traps being baited. I expect they have experience with those traps. We are in the process of acquiring the tools with which to permanently remove the nuisance, and I am working on clearing up and repairing the run to make it sturdier. I may be recovering from the concussion, but I am still weak and easily tired. Some of that is definitely baby, and some is probably just the lingering vestiges and side-effects of the concussion. So despite best intentions, everything takes … more time than it should. But I actually was able to work for a solid hour today before I was too weak/tired/dizzy to continue. I completed a task even, before it got too bad.

Discussing it, we agreed I would acquire more chicks to replace my flock. So I put in an order a couple of days ago for new chicks to be shipped. Hatchery stock, but I’m a bit soured on breeder stock after all the hell with that this spring and early summer. We do want them through the worst of chick-hood before the weather turns too cold. Trying to raise chicks in brutal cold didn’t work out well (for me!).

Today, we went out for errands, and I explicitly went to go find a pair of work boots that aren’t rubber. I spent about an hour working outside today, only really being able to wear … flip-flops. That’s not great. So work boots. We stopped at the -other- farm supply store, and discovered they had about week and a half to two week old chicks … for 25c/each. Came home with a dozen.

This, naturally, meant I could no longer put off cleaning out the grow-out coop, which I’ve done. That also required a bit of re-engineering. That was another solid hour or two of working, including with the drill. I only have a touch of dizzy, so I am fairly pleased. Still wiped out, though.

I still have some clean up and work to do on it, but they’re comfortably housed in the front section for tonight. I will probably acquire any remaining birds the store has tomorrow, after I also acquire chick feed (yeah, I forgot that detail :\ ) and more bedding for the coops.

Then I clean out the brooder coop for the incoming occupants.