Monday, May 28, 2007

I Hate a Damn Varmit!!!

Last week when I took Don Prockup back home to Butler, AL he gave me a beautiful Dominicker/Black Australorp cross rooster to go with my 9 girls. Don, like me, raises chickens for meat, eggs and organic fetilizer. Well, I don't raise mine for meat, but they can't be beat for eggs and garden fertilizer.

Don loaned me a cage and I packed Mr. Rooster up in the back of the car and trucked him home. He clucked and kept me company on the 4 1/2 hour ride from Butler to Alexander City. It was late and dark when I got home so I put Mr. Rooster in my shop for the night. The next morning I introduced him to my girls and they had a grand time in their pen getting to know each other. They all looked happier with a big, healthy rooster in there with them. He looked like their guardian and protector. My flock was complete.

The next morning Mr. Rooster felt at home enough to begin crowing and he had a nice set of lungs on him too. I love to hear a rooster crow in the morning. It just sounds like home...ya know what I mean? Saul didn't know what to make of the crowing having never heard it before. The rooster would crow and the dog would bark. It was like a game of tag for a while. Just hilarious. I took Saul out to meet Mr. Rooster and there was lots of excitement and sniffing. Mr. Rooster or 'Roostie-Roo' as we dubbed him spent one more happy day with his harem of young hens, crowing, preening and doing what chickens do.

Then yesterday morning something killed him in broad daylight. I got up around 630 to put the dog out. Normally I would stay up, but my back was screaming due to working in the garden and all of the driving I did last week, so I went back to bed. My husband was up, Saul was outside in his fence and the chickens had not been moved from the hutch to the day pen yet, so they should have been secure. I got back up about 9 and went to move them to their pen and low and behold Roostie-Roo's side of the hutch had been opened up and he was gone. At first I thought that maybe the stick I had used to close it wiggled loose and he was running free in the yard somewhere....then I saw the huge pile of feathers and then his sweet, little red comb laying on the ground and I knew he was dead. I followed the pile of feathers into the woods and saw where whatever had got him had dined well. I cried like a baby. I hate for my farm animals to get eat up. I get very attached to all of them, give them names and note the differences in their personalitles. They become pretty much a small part of the Nall family. When one get's eaten alive I want to destroy whatever did it.

I can't figure out what in the hell got his side of the hutch open, dragged him out, took him right by the dog pen, all of this in broad daylight and no one heard a peep and the dog never made a sound according to my husband. What kind of critter is that damn brave? I'm betting on a coon because some manual dexterity was needed to remove the sticks from the hutch door. Plus, this hutch is like a small house, with a roof and sits up way off the ground, so something had to climb up, hang on and open the door. I looked for some sort of track that would indicate what it was but since it is so dry there were no tracks, no pieces of fur to indicate what we are dealing with...nothing but a small pile of shit with berries in it near one of the feather piles.

All of my girls are fine this morning, no tracks around their pen or any other indication of what kind of predator we are dealing with. My friend Ralph, who was very sweet and called me last night to say he was sorry about my rooster getting eat up, offered to loan me a Hav-A-Hart cage to trap whatever ate my rooster. He also suggested I put some flour down in front of their pen and see what kind of tracks I get. I think I will do that tonight. Ralph raises all sorts of critters. He has goats, lama, emu, peacocks, geese, ducks, a pot-bellied pig, pheasant and the last time I was over there he had a crow with a broken wing trying to nurse it back to health. He said he would get me another rooster. He knows a lot about critters and predators and about how angry and sad having one of your babies eaten alive can make you. I think I'll take him up on that offer of a cage to trap this thing in. I can't promise that I won't kill it once I trap it but I have to trap it first and we will go from there.

I have been really busy this last week in the legislature, traveling to pick up and drop off patients and other stuff and I am behind on my blogging. I started writing a post about the patient testimony before the subcommittee on civil jutice for medical marijuana, spent hours and hours on it, had it almost perfect and my browser crashed. Despite Blogspot's new feature that guarantees your post is being saved automatically every 60 seconds my shit disappeared into cyberspace never to be seen again. I'll have to start all over but have been too disgusted with losing the first one to start again. Maybe by the end of today I'll feel like it.


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

the chupacabra

Christie said...

My thoughts are with ya today Lo. I'm just glad I got to meet Roostie-Roo. I think Ralph's cage idea is a good one...the predator should be caught and punished.

Andie said...

If you catch it and don't wanna do the dirty deed, I got a bb rifle with its name on it. :D

mikey said...

Hey Loretta, sorry to hear about your Rooster. I still have scars on my legs from my last "cock of the walk". At my Michigan farm, I used to have a flock of about 8 hen, and Mr Rooster, and once in a while, one would be gone. Around here, Red tailed Hawk (ne Chicken Hawk) used to get one and leave NOTHING, but to tear it up like that? I'd say raccoon or Fox. My Jack Russel's always let me know when a varmit was on the property, bigger dogs like your german shepard don't really clue into varmits, unless they trip over them, its not what they've been bred to do. Get a Live trap, put a can of Cat food in it, chicken flavor, and you will get the varmit. Then, SHOOT IT in the head.

x ray said...

i'm thinking a coon too. i had a lot of them kill and eat my chickens. i caught about ten. a opposem will eat eggs and chicks but not big chickens. you better watch out because he'll be back for another meal.

Don said...

I guess critters like bobcats, cougars and coyotes might eat berries too as well as smaller critters, so I would consider all of them as possible perps.

My browser didn't just crash a couple of weeks ago, it plain died. I had so much stuff in my files that took ages to accumulate that I sure need to get back if possible. A neighbor who builds his own PCs has my hard drive trying to retrieve all of that, but so far all he has been able to do is to get it to, in his words, light up.

Don said...

I guess critters like bobcats, cougars and coyotes might eat berries too as well as smaller critters, so

I would consider all of them as possible perps.

My browser didn't just crash a couple of weeks ago, it plain died. I had so much stuff in my files that

took ages to accumulate that I sure need to get back if possible. A neighbor who builds his own PCs

has my hard drive trying to retrieve all of that, but so far all he has been able to do is to get it to, in his

words, "light up".