Sunday, April 14, 2013

Too Graphic For Photos: A Tale of Extreme Violence

Warning: May Not be suitable for Young Audiences..........


Last night as I had troubles  sleeping, a clatter outside caught my attention....I strained my ears listening for the first sounds of chickens in distress. After about  20 minutes of nothing, I started to relax and decided to force myself to sleep. Hubby already sound asleep, snoring loudly next to me. Then about 10 minutes later, the unmistakable sounds of squawking and wing flapping of crazed chickens scared out of their mind echoed through our bedroom.

I leaped out of bed without thinking, running outside in Mid April after it had been snowing half that morning.......no coat, bald head, barefoot, racing across the yard in the pitch dark. I stop, knowing in the pitch dark, in chicken pens still winterized, closed off so you can not see into them as spring just does not want to show it's face, how stupid my rashness is. After all I can not see what predator lies in waiting for me if I come up and surprise it!

Not to mention, since Chemo, I truly am freezing all the time and can not tolerate such cold conditions.......so I race back in the house as Hubby who awoke with the noise, is flying out of bed with the  speed of a gazelle, racing to save our favorite chickens, in a separate pen from the others. Our 2 silkie roosters and araucauna hen. I grab some shoes, my hat and a coat..... wondering where my daughter left the dang flashlight she had just played with 2 nights ago.

Save our chickens...............the only thing on our minds..... you would think raising chickens in a country setting would have us owning some type of weapon to deal with predators...... um nope, guilty as charged!

When I come out, chickens have been set free, scattering in the dark cross country.......who knows where in the zillion acres of farm fields and darkness. A lump lies curled up right outside their pen. I am impressed Hubby got it from the pen to the outside of it and asked him what the heck it was. He informs me he clubbed it once in the head so not to worry, it was dead.......then tells me it is an opossum.

Yeah he is a city boy who knows nothing of nature! I am like DUDE hit him again, he is NOT dead, he is just PLAYING DEAD!

To late, he jumps up and runs next to the other pen.

Then we proceed to throw large rocks, trying to crack his  skull, a horrible situation to be in. Hubby talked of trying to chase him away.......I explained if we did that, he would just keep returning, the sad truth of a food chain in nature at work.

Besides, this pissed off creature who was growling, hissing and not in the mood was not about to leave, he was ready for the fight.

I kept telling hubby to grab the shovel sitting pretty close to us, while by now our daughter had found the flashlight so at least we could see what we were doing. Hubby ignored me, kept debating what to do, fearing this thing would start running at us and biting us.

You see Opossums, naturally play dead, but when they are truly under attack, they can be nasty and oh so incredibly mean and have no problems running up your leg biting the crap out of you.

I was freezing and telling hubby while trying not to hurry him, that I could not handle the cold anymore as an hour or two had passed and the rock throwing was not doing much good other than hurting him slightly. We needed to end this so we could find our chickens and go  to bed!

Our daughter who is 11 and running around the house trying  to find ways to help, fashioned a spear out of an old hollow broom handle and a sharp kitchen knife that when wedged in the handle made for a fine mighty spear.

One problem was the handle was only about 2 1/2 feet long and hubby was not comfortable with such close combat range.. The machete we had under our bed also was made for close combat range and hubby decided was way too dull.

This whole situation was truly sucking as I HATE being cruel to wildlife but at the same time needed to protect our small flock.

Finally we got the possum  to come out enough from his rock pile that ended up being his shelter rather than the hopeful killing of him we intended it to be, grabbed the shovel.

I  remained silent, flashlight on target, while hubby got the courage and confidence to strike.....it took a little bit but in the end the shovel did the trick, breaking it's neck.

30 minutes later, the extremely frightened chickens had been found, rounded up in the dark and placed back into safety.

Growing your own is not always pleasant, it is what is is! One chicken received a small bite but appears to be okay so in the end we saved all 3 so will consider a gruesome but successful night.

I think we will be considering at least a good air gun for future predator issues............

How about you, have you ever had predator issues with your backyard flock?