Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Coldest Day of the Year

It is bad out there.
I heard yesterday that we were in for a freeze last night and that immediately sent me on a guilt trip. I had two chickens freeze to death last week (almost unheard of in this region) and I only have two left. I started out with a dozen a few years ago, but the coves of western North Carolina are not "chicken friendly." A hawk got three of them and I ran him off before he got more. I considered shooting him and even went out to Walmart to buy shells for my ancient .22 rifle, but the clerk told me that there was a stiff fine for shooting a hawk. So, I covered the top of the chicken lot with wire and I even noticed the hawk in a nearby tree, watching. He hung around for a week and even came back a month later, but he finally vanished. Then, a fox got two more, and I am damned reluctant to shoot a fox. One night, insomnia got me up and I wandered out on my deck in time to see two "kits" who were rolling over and over in the grass in front of my chicken lot. Baby foxes! I moved and the deck creaked and they were gone. They are somewhere up on that hill behind me .... a fox den. Instead of going off on a rampage to kill them all, I have decided to take my chances. So far, so good. No more foxes in the hen house.
Some strange infection got two more, and then last week, two more froze to death in the chicken house. I felt a need to save these last two hens, so I ran an expensive extension cord to the chicken house and installed a 60-watt bulb. Did it work? Well, we will see.


  1. Keeping chickens going is a trial. My daughter Brenna keeps 30 or so and has one that's 17 years old , but the rest have to be replaced on a regular basis. Covering the top of the chicken lot is a neccessity however. Brenna's contended with hawks, opposums, dogs, foxes, and coyotes over the years. One day a hawk, stymied in his attempts to pluck a fat chicken, grabbed her mom's chihuahua and took off across the yard like Howard Hughes attempting to pull the Spruce Goose aloft. Fortunately he deposited the chihuahua in the driveway unharmed and flew off to nurse his hernia.