The Survivors

The title of this post was going to be a cheerful “Chicken Update!” I was going to write something light about how I hadn’t been taking any pictures of the babies to spare them the humiliation of having their awkward adolescent weeks immortalized on the internet, etc.. That was until the events of this past Wednesday night wiped out half of our hens.

Spared all the roosters. Sigh.

It was 2:30 am and our dog Bonny was demanding to be let out. Bonny is not a dog to waste any time not sleeping, so when she didn’t trot right back in B went bravely out to investigate. He discovered the unmistakeable sight of an erect skunk tail running frantic laps around the run of our chicken house. An occasional chicken flapped through the air with much squawking to punctuate the sad peeping of the confused flock huddled at ground level. Also, there was the stench. B only has one pair of pj pants and needed them for a pending trip, so he ran back in the house to strip down before confronting certain doom again in his briefs. Yes. He was going back out to confront a skunk. This time in his underwear.

Fortunately this wardrobe change gave the skunk some time to escape back through the 2″x4″ openings in the fencing around the outdoor part of our chicken house. Sadly the skunk killed three of our tiny ladies in the mayhem. I would have felt so much better if it had at least been a creature that wanted to eat them. They were just senseless collateral damage.

This is the chicken I was most worried about losing:

Note the crooked beak. If I were a real chicken fancier it would have been cull city for this hen, but look at her beard! Too good! Her behavior is also terribly endearing. B says she and her manly counterpart (both Bearded D’Anvers bantams) are the Golden Retrievers of the chicken world. They do stuff like this:

You don’t even need a food lure!

I’m so glad they both made it through the attack.

The rest are merely pretty friendly.

None have names yet. Initially I wasn’t naming them because half were going to be roosters and therefore not for keeping here in Oakland. This last incident reminded me that it might be wise to wait until full maturity to really help lessen the blow of the random, surprise chicken slaughter. Indeed, this was not our first night of losses over the years. Unfortunately O had named one of the hens before she died. RIP Rainbow. I waited until O was engrossed in a Busytown Mystery before breaking him the news. After an initial “but I WANT Rainbow!” he decided it would be okay. Okay as long as we rename all the big chickens Rainbow.

The head count is now as follows:

3 baby hens

3 baby roosters

5 big chickens (Rainbow 1, Rainbow 2…)

1 dog

1 cat

2 horses

assorted fat squirrels and other garden vermin


2 thoughts on “The Survivors

  1. Kimberly Ford Chisholm

    Perhaps the “Rainbows” could have last or middle names. Or first names like “shiny shimmery rainbow,” which O’s eldest cousin would like given that we didn’t name his brother “Shiny Shimmery Sword.”

    And readers should know that the intrepid rest of the flock of babies is here in our garage and that Ellis neglected to tell us about the no-namingchick policy and that Delonte West and Tender and Dash are all alive and well. For now.

  2. Kimberly Ford Chisholm

    Wait a MINUTE! Is that Keeon Dooling there in that photo?? Does this mean I have some tough news to tell the kids here about Breast and Kiev and Chase and Nugget? Did Lucinda lose her beloved in the attack??!!


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