Sunday, September 30, 2012

HEN HAPPENINGS: SAYING GOOD-BYE TO THE CHICKENS

I've had to say good-bye to my 4 chickens. It's been a good 1 1/2 years and I will always remember them fondly: Hoot, Gwen, Phoebe, and Zeebie. I have many reasons for giving them away, but the main reason was the endless struggle to keep them safe. Chickens are on every predator's list even in metropolitan Houston. Here's a photo farewell to remember the ups and downs of chicken keeping.
A gift from my wife.

Early morning feeding time 
(EVERY morning and usually before sunrise!)

Dear old Hoot, our flock's leader and my best chicken friend.

Showdown at the OK Corral.
(The chickens won and kitty hit the road)

Chicken art...so much fun!

Cleaning the hen house...not so much fun.

Fresh eggs every morning!

And fresh surprises every night.

I was late to work one morning because I could not get this baby Opossum out of the hen house.
It was hard to explain to my schoolchildren.

Baby raccoons on the hen house. They were cute the first time they did this, but not the next time at 2:00 AM in the morning!

And mamma raccoon broke in 7 different times to steal eggs.
(She never harmed the chickens)

If you look closely, you'll see mamma raccoon.
Letting my chickens out with raccoons was too stressful and the main reason I gave them away.

This was my all time most bizarre memory. The pack rats moved in to the chicken coop and to scare them away, my dad bought this realistic owl.
One night I found a rat resting on the owl.
The pack rats did not bother the chickens and simply wanted the spilled grain.
Suffice it to say, our resident screech owls enjoyed the prospects of more food in the food chain.
However, my wife was less than thrilled.

As we decided to give away the flock, our house was host to a new litter of kittens. It was becoming a menagerie. We kept two of the kittens.

In the end, I learned something very important:
if I had time to only have one hobby (which is more and more the case)
I would keep gardening and pass on the chicken raising.
My admiration goes out to those who can do both.

Happy Gardening & thanks so much for stopping by!
David/:0)




















14 comments:

  1. Such a shame you had to give them away, no more fresh eggs for breaky. Your wife gave you such a lovely picture. Over here, we have possums, that show up of a night and cause chaos, and noise.

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  2. Sad to hear you had to give them away but can imagine they are in a safer home now. At least the playfulness and cuteness of the kittens are helping at sadness of seeing the chickens go :)

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  3. OK, I think I will pass on the chickens. It had fleetingly crossed my mind that now as retirees we should be more self sufficient. The rat picture is what did me in!

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  4. I'm sorry you had to give away your chickens. We have mongoose and opossums here. The mongoose just like to take the eggs but, the opossums at night can be a nightmare if I don't make sure the coop is closed up. At least, you can always say, I had the good experience of having chickens once.

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  5. I've admired you having chickens - in Houston! And I have often thought about keeping chickens. I know they must be fun. But they are also a responsibility and a chore, and for that reason, I have never decided to take the plunge. This post makes me realize I am making the right decision for myself, especially all the photos of the raccoons. They are such nuisances! I walked outside later than usual the other night, and I treed one! haha I hope your chickens go to someone that will take care of them and treat them as pets.

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  6. David, you tried it out. I saw your post last night and wanted to respond but I was exhausted. I've been hitting the trails and garden pretty hard lately. I had wondered how long the chicken experiment would last when the racoons showed up.....:) Now you can talk about this with other people thinking about adding a chicken element to their yard or garden. It certainly does attract the critters which makes for great photography:) Hang in there. Just think....it's one less thing you have to worry about in the morning before school starts. And you can always just have bird feeders out and attract your local birds:) That has been lots of fun for me.....but you won't get any eggs.

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  7. I loved your chickens but understand how difficult it must be to keep them safe. I would be a wreck at school if I were worried about chickens the whole time! The pack rats do crack me up, though!

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  8. David after what you have been through with those chickens I totally agree with you for giving them away. It seems that it was worst than having four young children. Dealing with the racoons, possums, rats, the cats and the hens I would be a mental case. I hope you can sleep and enjoy your garden in peace from now on. Take care

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  9. Sad and charming and understandable.

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  10. I think you had more critters visit your coop in the city than we've had in the country. Maybe we don't get up so early, and what we don't see doesn't bother us . . . Glad you've had fun with chickens, and don't blame you for ending the experiment. If it were up to me alone, I would choose gardening, too.

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  11. Its sad that you have to part ways with your colourful chooks and their supply of fresh eggs. The visitors are interesting. The most hilarious are the rats who totally ignored the wooden owl.

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  12. Nothing ventured and all that. Now, is it time to go plant shopping? :)

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  13. David, I know you'll miss the chickens AND the eggs but it sounds like the best decision for everyone. More time for gardening is always a good thing!

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  14. I have been very envious of your chickens, David, and would have loved to have some of my own. However, with the dogs, it was just never going to work.

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I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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