He’s a dedicated man. One that I’ve come to appreciate for his love of the garden and all of its critters. Rest in peace to all of our fallen: Chickens, bunnies, turtles, bees, cats, etc. Before you criticize and/or chastise, know that we are animal lovers through and through and cherish each one of God’s creatures with love and respect.
Except for raccoons.
Three years ago in what was the middle of the summer season, a single raccoon wiped out 7 of our most prized and unique egg layers. It wasn’t a pretty picture. Sprinkled throughout the garden and out onto the surrounding streets were countless feathers blowing through the wind, blood on our vegetables and our dead/wounded flock. A black copper maran, the one I held near and dear to my heart because I anticipated a dark chocolate color on the egg, was found dead in the middle of 51st street at 6 in the morning. I think I was depressed for a whole month after that happened. The one thing that did give us hope was our survivor buff orpington. She quickly became our farm mascot affectionately named Scalpy. The raccoon, as you may have guessed, ate her scalp.
The following night, we decided to leash our dog Roscoe up to the chicken coop, in hopes that he’d either eat, scare off or bark to warn us that a raccoon was near. Needless to say, it didn’t work as well as planned, as Andrew woke up and found the raccoon attacking and killing three more chickens. Fortunately, we chased it and Andrew whacked it over the head with a shovel.
And the following night Andrew decided to sleep outside in the hammocks. Myself? Comfy and cozy in bed inside our apartment. It was about 3AM when I heard a few loud pops in the street, distinctly from of a gun. The feelings I had at that moment were instant pangs of gut wrenching fear. Fear for Andrew, not knowing what was going on, the lot of it. I raced outside only to find him just as frightened. “I’m sleeping inside,” he said. And that he did.
And it was that last night a few years ago we ever encountered a raccoon. Up until tonight. Eagle-eared Chloe alerted us of some screaming chickens. A casual, “Hey, I think there’s something up with the chickens.” Andrew, once again, found himself getting hissed at by a raccoon and whacked it over the head with a shovel.
This time the raccoon claimed the lives of one of our youngest brood. Rest in peace to the one red star, and healing thoughts to our two injured.
And with that, the young hens are sleeping cozily in our basement, away from the threat of the raccoons while Andrew is indeed outside equipped with an old broom handle with a paring knife fashioned with duct tape to the broom end.
He’ll be in his sleeping bag, probably counting how many pets he’s lost due to a raccoon attack.