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Posts from the ‘Chickens’ Category

I Almost Killed My Chickens Last Night

And when I say ‘me,’ I really mean the two opossum (pronounced possum) that scared them out of the coop and scattered them around my dark yard at 3 a.m.. They will kill and eat chickens. The reason I say it’s my fault is because I haven’t been shutting the coop door at night. I mostly leave the door open so I don’t have to wear my heels through the garden to open the door in the morning (when I leave for work). How selfish.

The good news is that everyone is safe and alive. Plus, I found that my dog is amazing at locating and herding lost chickens in the dark. It’s really a funny story now that I think about it.

The Players:

Here’s how it went down.

I was awoken at 3 a.m. by the sound of my chickens squawking and flapping around in the chicken coop. I got up, flipped on the porch light and ran outside using my bedroom’s exterior sliding door.  I have a large dowel as a secondary lock for the door and that became my weapon. Keep in mind that I jumped out of bed so I’m doing all this while wearing __________. (I’ll let you use your imagination.)

I first assessed the chicken coop. There was a small opossum in the coop and Licorice was still in her little condo. I locked Licorice, my black silkie hen, in her condo to keep her safe and used the hose to scare the opossum out of the coop. I would like to point out that it was super handy to have the hose hooked up, turned on and ready to go – winterizing hoses is highly overrated. At this point I didn’t realize there was a much larger opossum out in the garden with my three other chickens.

Once I got the little guy out of the coop and got some shoes on, I went searching for the other chickens. I found Buttercup right away since he’s easy to spot – he’s my white silkie rooster. He was in the back part of the garden by the garage. His stance was very defensive and I didn’t realize why until I saw the BIG opossum just a couple feet from him. This is when the dowel became useful. I smacked the side of the wood raised bed next to the opossum (I still couldn’t hit it) until it waddled off. I grabbed Buttercup and put him back in the coop.

This is where it gets funny and Welly becomes useful. I can’t say I’m fan of wrangling chickens in the dark with predators milling about. Those of you with chickens can probably relate. Fortunately, I found Henny Penny pretty quick. She was in the path of the waddling creature so I reached down to pick her up… and she took off. Welly and I chased her around the yard for a couple minutes until we finally cornered her and I got her in the coop.

Hazel was near impossible to find. She’s my partridge silkie (speckled browns/black) and she huddles tight to the ground. What’s unnerving is that I found her inches from where I scared off the big opossum when I grabbed Buttercup. She was even harder to catch. This is when I realized how hard it is to touch a lump on the ground – in the dark – to see if it’s your chicken – to pick it up.  It would’ve been much easier if I’d gone inside to get a head lamp but I didn’t want to leave the garden.

Welly must have noticed I was having issues since he started showing me where she was hiding. What a smart precious dog.

What Hazel would do is run squawking to a part of the yard and then hug the ground for invisibility. Welly would find her and bark for me. Then, I’d get super close to grab her and she’d run off again. Repeat. At one point I had the brilliant idea to throw one of my new large French laundry baskets over her (the ones I bought to keep the chickens out of the vegetable garden) and she flew through the gap in the wire instantly. Great. At least they look good?

Finally, Welly alerted me to her new location in the front yard and I was able to grab her before she ran off again. I closed the coop door and was grateful I was home when it happened and it wasn’t a work night. From now on I close the door every night.

My chickens still haven’t left the coop this morning. I’m not sure who traumatized them more, me or the opossums.

Northwest Flower & Garden Show Opens This Week!

I’ve been anxiously waiting for the start of the Northwest Flower and Garden Show (NWFGS) since the first day of winter. For me, this is the beginning of the gardening season. It gets me out of my winter slump and inspires me to spend time outside in my jungle. Read more

I’m a Wimp

The last couple weeks I’ve noticed a creature is living in my garage. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I assume it’s a rat. I’ve thought about leaving the door open to let the cats hang out in the garage but don’t want my pets getting into other potentially harmful stuff that may be out there. At least until I have the time to clean it out.

Then last night I was awoken by something trying to get into my chicken coop. I heard the distinct noise (twang) of the hardware cloth being pulled on and released. I quickly got up to see what was trying to get to my chickens and found my own cat pulling at the wire.

To get a better look at what my cat was trying to get (since I knew it wasn’t the chickens) I walked around to the other window and saw the sweetest looking rat sitting on top of my hen house — looking right at me with it’s doe eyes.

[Visualize picture of cute rat looking scared that I was too tired to take]

Instead of opening up the coop and letting my cat have a run at the rat, I went back to bed. I figure it had to leave the coop at some point and then it was fair game. In short; I’m a wimp.

I deserve to have rat poop all over my garage. Maybe I’ll put out some live traps soon and send this buddy to the woods (yes, I know this is also bad). We already know I can’t kill it. I’m open to your suggestions.

‘Free-Range Chicken Gardens’ Book & Black Chicken GIVEAWAY!!

Just like you, I love a good giveaway. To help celebrate Jessi Bloom’s new book, Free-Range Chicken Gardens, we had a virtual book launch and giveaway.

The best part is that you had EIGHT chances to win and got to visit some great new blogs!! Plus, you not only had the chance to win Jessi’s book but also The Fresh Egg Cookbook. And because I wanted my giveaway to be better than the seven other bloggers, I threw in a Black Chicken!

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Book Review: Free-Range Chicken Gardens — CLUCK HERE TO WIN

Since some of you are chicken people and/or almost chicken people I thought I’d pass along this amazing new book ‘Free-Range Chicken Gardens.’

I should start by letting you know that I am actually in the book (pages 27, 51 upper left, 112, 114-117) – not that I’m keep track or anything. But, that’s not why I think it’s amazing. I like to joke that I wish I had this book when I first got chickens – but then I wouldn’t be in it.

I think this book is amazing because it covers everything I’ve had questions on since I’ve had chickens – in an easy to read format.

  • How to incorporate new chickens to the flock
  • Chicken friendly plants (there’s a plant list)
  • Plants poisonous to chickens (another list)
  • Predators
  • Coop design and amenities
  • Why is my sweet hen growling at me (broody)

And because I still have questions. She also talks about chicken breeds, chicken habitat, plans for coop/yard layout, keeping your chickens safe, how to protect your plants, diseases, and more. There are also examples or bios of people who free-range chickens in their gardens.

Plus, it’s important to me that a book be easy to read. I tend to flip through books more than read them straight through. That being said, I love the layout of this book. The headers and topic headings are easy to spot if you want to read through a specific topic. Overall, it’s full of the information I need while including plenty of chicken/garden pictures and visuals.

Disclaimer: I did get a copy of the book to review. Before that, I already purchased a copy of the book for myself and my besty Keri who has chickens. I’ll simply give one to my mom. Plus, I already mentioned that I’m in the book. Oh, and since meeting Jessi (when she came to take pictures of my chickens and garden), I’ve come to consider her a good friend. She’s the real deal.

Update: This contest is over. This means you need to go out and buy the book now!