We have had a war going on this summer.
We were raising some new hens to replace our old ones this spring. When the babies started getting larger, I divided our chicken house in half with a barrier so they could start getting used to one another before I mixed them together. I learned a long time ago not to mix them together too early because the old hens do not play nicely with others.
Since we made the division in the hen house we had to add a door to the outside portion. This was a simple slide up and down panel made out of hog wire. It seemed like it would work.
We headed to the river on a fishing trip one weekend and left our teenage neighbor in charge of the chores. She called me after the first day completely devastated. Something had pulled up the door panel and killed every one of our new babies. It was a total massacre and I was worried the horrific sight might cost us our chore girl too. I was completely disgusted.
They were only weeks away from starting to lay eggs. It had to have been raccoons.
Our other neighbor had just finished reading “Where the Red Fern Grows.” He was delighted at the idea of trapping varmints around our farm. He was completely obsessed with coon dogs and all things raccoon. He showed up shirtless in a pair of overalls ready to do some trapping.
His first night was a success and he worked with his dad to skin it to try to make a hat.
In the meantime, one of our beloved school teacher friends was taking a long trip out of town this summer. He called and asked if we’d like to take his four silkie chickens. The kids were so excited to have such fancy chickens. They settled in nicely and started laying eggs in their half of the hen house.
As I was making the trip to Batesville, Ark., to take the girls over to Girl Scout camp, my husband called to inform me that something had killed all of our new chickens. I was so mad!! We had secured the door but these beasts had reached through the hogwire and yanked the chickens out. They were completely mutilated. It was on.
I called my 10-year-old trapper buddy and he was back on the case. The first night he set his snare trap using the chicken body as bait. He caught the biggest male raccoon any of us had ever seen. Of course he was fat! He’d been feasting on our chickens for the last month. You can imagine the fate of old fatty.
The hen house is being wrapped in chicken wire as I write. I’m headed to the farmer’s coop to pick up another set of baby chicks.
The war against raccoons is still raging. This farm wife never gives up, neighbor.