10.10.2012 And it continues . . .

The minion overslept this morning and missed the bus.  Since I overslept too, I had the honor of taking him to school.   I got back to the farm about the same time as the riding lawn mower. (The guys at the shop had a bit of a guilt trip about keeping my mower while they gave the truck an overhaul and about what that overhaul was going to cost me.) So, yay!  I didn’t have to haul chicken fixins out by hand today.  However, as I approached the chicken enclosure I knew something was wrong.  The Sussex were out and about, but hanging close to their tractors.  The Dorkings and the remnants of the original laying flock were still huddled in their tractor.  The normal rule of the day is when chickens see me coming, they rush out to greet me and get their scratch.  Not today.

As I pulled up to the tractors I saw the cause of their skittishness right away.  There was a dead Buff Orpington in a pile of feathers just outside the door of the Dorking tractor.  Not Momma Orpington, but the other Buff which has led one tragic life.  She was always picking the wrong time to go broody and spent a lot of time in the cooler.  The one time I let her set a batch of eggs, she abandoned them.  But she’s dead now.  Headless to be precise.  Coon!

Inside the Dorking tractor I found another corpse.  This was the lone Speckled Sussex in the group.  Unlike the rest of my spotted birds, this particular Sussex wasn’t at all bigoted and preferred living with her unspotted cousins.  (Or maybe she just had the hots for that hunk of burning love, Thunder Muffin the Tail-less.)  But, yea, she was dead too.  She still had her head on her shoulders, but she’d been scalped.

I guess my neighbor has finally run out of chickens and guineas.  The last time I talked to him, he’d suffered near total loss of his flock over the summer, despite trapping countless coons.  Now, apparently, it is my turn.  Went right through the electric fence, the little snot!

Well, bummer.  The mower.  The truck.  The horses.  Now the chickens.  (And that’s just at the farm.  The husband’s had an “interesting” week at work already and it’s only Tuesday.)  Sure sounds like an outbreak of Trouble Monkeys.  I guess I should have known when I saw what happened to my youngest son in the pasture on Sunday.  He was driving the truck from the pasture to the barn.  He got to the gate, put the truck in park and went to open the gate and . . . the truck started backing itself through the pasture.  Eric learned an important lesson about making sure to get the gear shift all the way into park and using the parking brake if you are going to leave the engine running.  I came to appreciate the beauty of learning to drive a big truck in an open pasture.  It was also really funny watching Eric scamper after the retreating truck trying to catch it. (Which he did.  No harm done.)

So tonight, I will be locking the chickens inside their tractors and setting the trap. (Baited with marshmallows, no less.  Well, who knew?)  If I am lucky, there will be one less coon in the area tomorrow.  If I am not lucky, there will be one or more less chickens.  Either way, no sleeping in.  Have to be out there to turn out the survivors come sunrise.

I despise trouble monkeys.

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