Monday, April 21, 2008

Just when you think it is safe to go into the chicken coup….

Well, some time has passed since the hawk and coyote incidents (see the Dull Moments posts). And I think I was pretty much over the shock of knowing their are predators in our midst. Until today.

When we arrived home at 3pm, I told my daughter to go get the eggs. I did have a sense that something might be awry when we didn’t see any animals in the pasture when we drove up. She ran back to the house with the same look on her face as she did the day of the hawk incident so I knew something was up. “Mama! There’s a snake!” After much back and forth between us on the exact whereabouts of the reptile, I went out to take a look for myself. There he was, in all his glory, curled up in one of MY chicken boxes with one of MY eggs down his throat. His mouth was open. He looked dead. I couldn’t tell how many eggs he had, since the rest of his body was coiled and very hard to see. I called the husband and told him that we had a snake situation. After much back and forth between us on the question of what type of snake it was, I decided it was a white oak and not poisonous. The husband said I had only one choice and that was to chop its head off with a hoe. Excuse me? I explained to him the coil position and that the degree of difficulty to actually get to his head--- in addition to me being an amateur in snake decapitation—was going to be a little out of my league. So we decided he’d kill it when he got home since the snake was probably too fat to get back out the way he came in. A few more minutes passed and I decided to go back out and see what had transpired. Sure enough that slippery little sucker was trying to escape through the wire mesh side of the coup!

Some of you may know what comes over one in moments like these. Some may not. I assure you; something does come over you to allow you to do what I did. This is not in my nature, nor have I ever had any practice or training in this art of dealing with predators.

I got the hoe. I returned to the scene. I watched his ways. I planned out several scenarios in my head. I decided on the best plan of attack. Slowly I opened the coup door…. Wow, he was long! About 4 feet… I raised the hoe up over his head…. closed my eyes….. and put an end to the egg thief. I had imagined the worse case scenario of the aftermath and it wasn’t even close. There was very little blood but there was lots of egg yolk. I screamed and did the freak out dance and screamed some more. It was just the heebie jeebies of the whole thing, and I was grossed out and proud at the same time. I left the scene, called the husband, called my Mom, and now I’m bragging to you. I saved my animals from the further threat of the beast! And I am not kidding… as soon as I left the pasture, all 7 chickens came running out from hiding and thanked me profusely.