Yesterday morning dawned another snowy Saturday and as we headed out for breakfast there were tracks in the fresh snow down our lane. Both sides were full of tracks and when we stopped to check them out we discovered they were raccoon tracks. GIANT raccoon tracks. More proof of hungry chicken snackers which is why the hens have been restrained all week again.
I didn't let them out yesterday despite their protests. The good thing about keeping them penned up is that I don't worry about them. The bad thing is that they really mess up the hen house and poop in their water all day. They have the whole pen AND house and STILL they have to poop in their water. Those marble sized brains of theirs really aren't being used to their full potential. I'm still getting 3-6 eggs a day from them which is great and justifies (if only slightly) paying $12 a month for their feed. Of course now that they are penned up all the time they eat a lot more grain. It's a Catch 22. Are we eating $12 a month worth of eggs when we could buy them at the store for 68 cents a dozen? No. So at this point they are pets with benefits. I never got ANYTHING edible out of our two labs despite the hundreds, nay THOUSANDS of dollars we put into their 12 years on this earth. Of course, the chickens don't EVER have puppy breathe or give you wet sloppy kisses. They are (I believe) equally as happy to see me however.
Another potential development is that there was a pile of white bunny fur in the box this morning when I went out to feed and water the bunnies. They were both fine, but I now suspect from the experience of last month (pre Flip neutering) that Flop may be preparing for round two of the baby bunny business. Of course this would be the LAST time.
Farming is stressful.
Yesterday afternoon, Bryon was up on the front fence row burning brush piles in preparation for our tax refund fence we plan to put in. He finally came back to the house about 5 pm and hollered for me to come out and see the chicken killer. I schleped out to the garage and there in all his glory was a three legged, brown eyed Beagle dog. It was cute. Damn him.
Bryon said despite his three legs (one was missing at the hip in the back) he was FAST! Our neighbor who has been cutting wood stopped by and said he'd seen him here before and figured he was ours. Not so much. Grace wanted to keep him. We did not.
He did have a collar on but no tags of course. So now we have a bobcat-raccoon-possum-three legged dog killers all just waiting for their next chance. Well they just might not get it. Yesterday Bryon bought some lumber to build the chicken tractor for me. It just has to be done by April 2 for the broilers but if we somehow manage to get it done sooner then I'll release the hens into it, throw in a nesting box and schlep them around the yard during the day so they can eat some bugs and spread some joy around the lawn until the broilers arrive. The cirle of life and all. I wasn't interested in freezing my buns off working on it in the barn yesterday so that will be another Saturday project in the near future. I'm actually a very fair weather girl these days :).