Monday, September 09, 2013

adventures in urban homesteading. (or) the time I lost my shit.

(apologies for my language...I drop the f-bomb a lot when I'm mad)

I'm going into my 3rd winter with Chickens in town.
I could go on and on about ideas around building the perfect chicken coop- VENTILATION, basic chicken care, and about how frickin' fantastic watching those bumbling featherbutts can be... but I won't... come and ask me questions some time.
My coop is the most hobo-built-redneck creation out there. It's built out of spare pieces of wood and parts off an old rabbit cage (Norty's old cage). It's been great- located inside my shed it's been mostly preditor proof- last fall a set of raccoon prints appeared on the lower side of the coop inside the shed, but the little guy never returned.
And there was the run-in with the fox this summer that made off with 2 of my meat birds, but that was a small run out in the yard, not the coop...

Last night I went to bed early- I've done a string of day shifts, and I find that getting things done and out the door before 7am is hard work... I fell asleep by 9:30 and was sound asleep in my own bed by 10.... at midnight I heard the chickens screaming.

I fumbled around and found a house coat in the dark (because I still haven't bothered to plug the lamp back in under my bed!) and went running out... three of the girls were in the run... Darlene was screaming bloody murder...The girls are never in the run at night- unless the coop door has blown shut and locked them out. So I run into the shed... and come face to face with 4 young raccoons! one took off right away and I never saw it again... one was in the coop eating an egg, and two others climbed up ontop of the coop.

I did what any chicken farmer would do.

I grabbed my broom and started playing raccoon baseball. I whacked the heck outta them- I shoved them, I hissed at them. I yelled (several times) "you mother fuckers get out of my fucking chicken coop!'

What did they do? They took it! One just sort of rolled his eyes at me while I swung at him. Oh, I made contact- once or twice the broom was bitten. Eventually I chased them out of the shed- they ended up on the roof. I could hear them pacing above me, so I went outside and started beating them again- one climbed into the run- where the girls started pecking at him.

This is likely where someone might have called the SPCA on me, because I grabbed the wooden pole that I use to prop open the run door and took a few swings at the beastie. In frustration (because I couldn't reach the jerks on the roof) I had thrown the broom at the coons while I spat out every swear word I've ever learned, so the pole made a great replacement.

It's still on the roof (the broom I mean).

The wooden pole was heavy- I couldn't swing it at the coons on the roof, and it was only 3 feet long. So I switched to the bamboo poles from the garden, at 5 feet long they make an amazing switch... and I could reach the peak of shed roof from the ground.

For the next half hour I ran from one side to the other of the shed, whipping raccoons. I was not gentle... but they seemed to think it was a joke.... till I climbed on the roof of the run and got on the roof of the shed and tried to play raccoon golf.

Finally I'd hit them in the head often enough that the decided to (slowly) leave.
They climbed down onto the fence... where I hit them some more.
Then they climbed over the side of the fence into the neighbour's side- still hanging onto the lattice of the fence.  I spent some time jabbing them in the stomach with my bamboo pole. That pissed them off and they fell off the fence- one fell off the fence and got stuck, that was pretty much the best moment of the night... I may have been laughing manicly at that point. I only stopped when I heard myself loudly say "take that mother fuckers!"

I also realized at that point that my housecoat wasn't done up, and that I was still wearing my mouth guard.

Awesome. Thank goodness I live on a quiet street.

epilogue: I chased the coons again around 3am. No chickens were (seriously) harmed. Tonight I built a cage inside the coop to house the girls till I can do some serious repairs to the side of my delapitated old shed. Vacation/shed repairs start next Monday if anyone would care to join me.

1 comment:

Account Closed said...

I googled raccoon recipes, you missed out on some mighty fine eating.