Category Archives: predatory animals

The Chicken Yard Door

Almost everything seems to love a good chicken dinner. foghorn-leghorn-285

I’m a Chicken Hawk and you’re a chicken!

Most of my ‘chicken time’ I’m working on protecting my hens. I mean, I wake up thinking about them. Are they OK? Did they make it through the night? What new situation or predator do I have to contend with today????

A lengthy conversation with my husband about moving the door to the chicken yard into a new place, blew up into a weeks worth of investigating door construction, wire purchases, and door locking systems… Good God. What Have I Done? Sigh…

Oh wait! Let me tell you how damn long it took me to make him understand how important it was to have a secure, non-saggy door for a chicken yard. He never did understand this, until we lost a hen or five to predators. The saggy door, which he thought was sufficient to keep in hens, was not a deterrent for dogs, coons, opossum, owls or hawks.

Here we are, finally 7 years down the road from Day One, of building the chicken yard and coop. He gets it. He finally gets it. I don’t care how much investigating we have to do. I’m just thankful he is finally understanding, that you MUST have a very secure doorway to a chicken yard. You must have good strong wire. Nothing flimsy is going to work. Mainly, because it seems most things like to eat chicken…  I won’t even get into the fact that most things can dig under any door, no matter how sturdy. I sunk blocks in a trench under the door. Not noticeable, but present!

This is my old door. A hazard to any chicken alive living inside. It’s not a good shot, but the end of the door is where they chain-link ends up top.  It needed to have had a frame fitted with no gaps. OK, so that did not happen. Rookie chicken raising mistake…

Every neighborhood Raccoon and Opossum found a way inside. Please don’t lecture me about how Opossum do not eat chicken. They do. I’ve saved three of my hens this last month alone. When they can’t scrounge up food, they eat whatever they can grab. That includes a hen that might not be on her A-Game. Maybe she’s older and does not run as fast. Hens do not see well at night. They really don’t know all of what’s going on around them. By the time they have been grabbed it’s too late.


Here is the lovely framework for the new door to slip into, once the cement holding in the posts is cured.  Psst… Yes, I said cement.  I think, he is tired of losing hens to animals also. He has to bury them. I cry.. Yeah, none of that sounds fun.


You will be getting updates on the saga of The Chicken Yard Door.

Here’s a picture of Maggie. Just because. She’s a lovely, noisy Black Australorp hen.


The Chicken Mom

Defending the Flock

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Remember when I write, I tell it like it is. You  may not like it, or you may be disgusted by it. However, sometimes life is just sort of disgusting. You and I will both recover from the knowledge.

My sleep has been really off and on, since this lovely time change. Last night was no different. I nodded off on the couch, evidently I was so out of it, I was still there at 2:30 AM. Suddenly, I popped awake and realized I needed to tote my rump to bed. That’s when I heard a chicken…. My girls do not make any sounds at night, except the gentle cooing and mumbles which you can detect if you are standing nearby.

The chicken coop and yard, is about 20 feet from my living-room windows. I wanted them near me, in case they ever needed me, I might hear them. Well, I did hear them. Actually, I heard two hens quite loudly, and I was grabbing slippers (should have grabbed shoes), and then because the noise was getting louder, I was looking for anything I could beat off wild animals with (also, should have thought through this better). Of course, I find a broom! Oh, yeah, that’s going to work wonderfully… (NOT).

So, I’m running out the door, into the dark, swinging a blue broom handle, wearing slippers, PJ’s and gritting my teeth! I’m so full of adrenalin now, that I could kill whatever was messing with my ladies with my bare hands…

They are in panic mode now with full-blown yells and screams of pure fear. I bust in there with a broom and see a possum hanging on the wall just a few inches from my ladies. I whacked it soundly with the broom handle and kept hitting it, and hitting it. Then, it finally let loose and fell to the ground and started to come at me. My broom handle broke, so I looked for something else.  I find a hammer!(Yeah this ends badly. Can you tell?)


I took one solid swing at the possum and it fell. Once it was down I was not going to quit hitting it! (I mean we all know possums, “Play Possum”). They lay there pretending to be dead. Well, NO ONE attacks my hens and lives to tell about it. I smacked that possum with that hammer until I knew he was dead or dang near it.

I’m shaking so badly, when it’s dead, I don’t realize it’s about 45* outside and I’m standing there with a bloody hammer my fuzzy slippers and my short PJ’s. Not exactly the ‘picture of the year’, or a good Photo Op.

I just killed another living thing, while protecting my chicken kids… I’ve never really had to do that myself. I’m kind of in shock, beating it to death with a hammer. It’s then I realize that this thing has massive teeth and I was just 10 short inches from that gaping hole of a mouth, with  all those teeth. I never saw them… I didn’t care. It was going to hurt my girls! That could not happen on my watch. It didn’t. (Just so you know from my personal experiences; yes, possums will hurt chickens. Not nearly as quickly as a Raccoon, but yes they will do it).

The coop has a lamp to use in emergencies. I found the plug and turned it on. Slowly, I go around checking chickens and making sure no one is hurt or missing. Some are so terrified they are huddled in corners in the back of the chicken run 40 feet or so away from the coop. I go out there, pick them up and carry them into the roots, cooing over them and checking them out as we walk. My talking soothes them and my world begins to take shape again, into a form feeling more normal.

My Amazing human kids come out to see what the heck is happening. They heard the commotion as well. Most of the drama is over. Thankfully. It helped me relax hearing their voices. At least I had reinforcements, should this dead thing revive. They are offering help; I remember only vaguely.

Brian my Son in Law took the body of the dead possum and buried it, which I am thankful for. I had no stomach left for it. My Daughter Casey talked me down into a more normal state, helping me focus back to Mom, and not “She-Ra princess of power”, with a hammer. (I wish I’d had her sword)…


I really don’t know how to end this….

OK.  I’ve been asked if the girls were alright?  Yes, they were fine. Evidently, their sounds were what woke me up in the first place, so the possum had little time to cause damage.  They were traumatize and a couple eggs were prematurely dropped onto the coop floor, but nothing hurt them.

They are my friends, even if it sounds a bit dorky.

Chicken Mom Out…