Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I can't even believe I am writing this but New Chicken has been killed.   I returned home from dropping Mum at the airport and was sitting in the living room with the kids when Ruby (our Rhode Island Red) flew wildly up at the window.  The window is about 10ft above the ground so I rushed out the house to see what was going on.

It was around 5.20pm, about an hour before sunset and still light.

As I ran around the corner I saw Ruby landing on the woodpile while a raccoon was killing New Chicken.

I ran towards it and in my panic I didn't see where the raccoon went.  New Chicken was still alive and struggling her legs and trying to stand up.  For a moment I thought I was going to have to kill her and wasn't sure if I should go and get a knife, hit her with a rock, wring her neck or what.  After some inspection of the amount of brilliant red blood and the damage to her head, I soon realized she was dying fast and her movement was probably mainly nerves.   I sat on the ground and stroked her until she was dead and still.   I said sorry and wished that I could kill the fucking raccoon.

The kids watched from the living room window.

At about that moment I realized the raccoon was waiting right next to me - about 2 feet away on the other side of the gate.  I could have touched it if the gate wasn't in the way.

I was so mad.

A raccoon (for you forinners) looks like this.  Picture courtesy of FreeBallard.com
who saved their chickens from a daytime attack.
I grabbed a big chunk of firewood and threw it at the raccoon - dropped it on it over the gate.  I missed.  I threw another and hit it so it climbed the small tree by the gate.  I yelled at it and threw another log (from 5 ft away) which hit it but it just turned and stared at me.   I was so crazy to hit it that I missed the next and kept wishing Mum was still here because she said she was a great shot with a rock.

I threw another big log and ran and yelled and it dropped to the ground.

I kept throwing logs until it was gone down the steps to the street.  It was still really day, a moment before the chickens had been scritching in the dirt, they hadn't even started to come to the back door for me to take them to their night perch in the garage.  It was so early!

I returned and put dead chicken in a paper bag in the kitchen.  In my fantasies the zombie raccoon returned and dragged New Chicken away to eat it, maddened by the smell of blood.

I retrieved Ruby from the back yard and put her in the kitchen too.  Frost and Wren were crying.  Frost was in his bed, crying because of the chicken being killed and it being "traumatic" seeing the dead chicken and the raccoon and me throwing things and shouting at it.

Wren was crying because Frost yelled at him to get out of his room.

Ruby starting walking up on down on my xylophone which was a bit amusing.  Thing was, I was still super mad at the raccoon.

I went back out into the street carrying two logs and a rock.  I hunted for the raccoon.   All the working people who come by bike and walking from the bus were starting to drift up the street and I was stomping around with a brutal expression and some heavy implements.  I really wanted to find that raccoon and thump it.   I was not in a highly evolved mood.

After a while I realized I wasn't going to find the raccoon and returned home.  I washed down the path with the hose and all the clots of blood and feathers went down into the crack by the fence.  I wished the chicken a safe journey and apologized again.

When Josh came home he googled Animal Control and Raccoons.  We are not sure what we are going to do about it.  There is a raccoon out there that has developed a taste for chickens.  At the time I would have killed it myself but now I wonder about trapping and taking a raccoon to the vet to be killed.

I will put the word out among our chicken-loving neighbors but after this I am going to give up keeping chickens.  We are looking for a home for Ruby (an 18 month old Rhode Island Red who lays once a day and is lovely and clever and sweet with people and kids).  She needs to be safe.   A friend of Tara's may take her but we have not yet heard for sure that it will work.

1 comment:

nautilus said...

I am so sorry to read this. Hope that the kids are not too traumatised. The raccoon in the picture looks so guilty. I think that that racoon family is much TOO large (3 big youngsters and the mother) for a suburb. maybe in the wild some would have died from lack of food but they get crazy in town.
I am glad that Ruby is safe and will go to a home. I heard from Stewart that it is better to have an ODD number of chickens to make them get along with one another. Love MUM