Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The down side to Urban Chickens.

Yesterday was a sad day for my friend at Acorn Cottage, one of her Hens was killed in the night.There were no clues as to what exactly did the deadly deed.Most likely the masked bandit Raccoon.The out come pointed its fingers right at that nasty wasteful little brother.
Alison called me and asked what to do.The dead Hen was left in a narrow spot between her shed and the fence right along the alleyway.The same alley the neighborhood kids come to watch the chickens from.Not wanting to scare the kids something had to be done and fast. I went right over and managed to fit through the tight spot and scoop up the poor dear. We buried Miss Henrietta under the Apple tree.This was not the way Alison wanted to see her Hen go,a longer happier life was the outcome hoped for.
This my friends is the down side to raising Chickens anywhere,the wild critters who think of your nice fat birds as their dinner.We have had our fair share of Raccoons here at our house.We had to re-configure the outdoor run for our girls after 3 nights in a row the neighborhood 'coon tried to get into the Hen House.Luckily for us our Good Dog Thora seems to have the sharpest Bionic Woman ears when it comes to Raccoons.Our normally sweet medium sized girl dog turns into a great big Woof of a dog.With Thora's help we have been able to save all but one of our Hens from wasteful Raccoon.
I call Raccoon wasteful because he/she kills the bird then leaves it behind.What is the point! At least eat the bird so I don't have to pick up your mess and worry about what disease you might have left on the body.
After leaving Acorn Cottage the day took a better turn. I found the Rennet I was looking for at a third store.I have not had time yet to try making the Mozzarella.Looking at our calendar it will most likely be next week before there is a clearing for Cheese making.
I feel like all I have been blogging about lately is Chicken Death.How very awful of me.And since there is nothing but waiting going on in the garden how about a sweet story about our dog?
For a couple of years Chance had been asking to get another dog.No,we are too busy for a dog.I have two young boys to run after I don't need to run after a dog. Please? Please? asked Chance.So to put him off I came up with this long impossible list of musts in the dog.
No higher than my knee, NO barking,NO begging,no long hair,must be able to dig a hole and cover its own poo like a cat.(HA! I thought that was impossible) Oh and good behavior overall.
See Chance loves the Nordic Dogs.Huskie,Akita ect.Big dogs,lots of energy and not dust bunnies but dust buffaloes come with their sheading.
So Chance was working way out in Easteren Oregon in the middle of nowhere desert.Coming home in the BIG work truck at dusk a dog ran out infront of the truck.Slam on the brakes,jump out of the truck and look for said dog.No dog.Here dog, here dog.No dog no dog body.Weird.Chance gose and gets back into the truck.There on the front seat sits the dog.Skin and bones and cute as all heck.Being the nice guy he is there was no way he could leave the dog out inthe middle of the desert in the middle of winter.On the way to the next town Chance feeds Dog a bag of corn chips and a bottle of water.At the town they stop at Mc somebodies for cheese burgers.Dog ate two of them curled up and went to sleep.It wa 11 Pm wne Chance pulled into home. I hear him whisper to me "Ah Sugar?" "What?" "I brought home a dog" "What!!" I am awake now.He tells me the story.Ok I agree you could not leave the dog there but NO WAY are we A.keeping dog or B. letting it sleep in the house.
I was a bit worried,just 2 days before the boys and I had adopted a cat who was still hiding under Sol's bed.What would the cat think? And I did not want a dog.
I also worried about the dog getting lose in the night and becoming lost all over again.We tried a hunters trick to keep the dog in the yard.We placed the shirt Chance had been wearing on the back porch.When hunters lose a dog they do this but leave the shirt where their truck had been.The scent of the owner tells the dog "stay here,I'll be back" In the morning the dog was still there. And I was still saying NO DOG.
That day we had errands to run.Not knowing if the dog would escape or not we took her with us.I spent some time waiting in the truck for Chance that day as he did work stuff.And well being a softie and the dog being so nice I fell in love with her.I named her Thora for the Norse god Thor.It is said that Thor with his crazy red hair would appear out of no where in the early Spring time,just like the dog had.She even has a reddish head.
The craziest part to Thora is she fits ALL of my criteria, sort of.She only begs for my homemade Sugar Cookies.Only barks if there is either a Raccoon or a stranger in the yard at night.She dose not shead to bad.Poos only in one place which is almost as good as covering it.She stands just below my knee without to much hair.She won't step off of our curb without an invitation to come and is the sweetest dog I have ever known.
I guess I would warn others to be careful of making a list of impossible things.Sometimes the universe has other plans for us.


  1. I LOVE Thor's story and how she came to be with you guys! Obviously meant to be.
    On the subject of chickens, tho, sounds like we ought to get a dog before we get chickens! We live not too far from densely wooded areas and have plenty of (wasteful) raccoons walking about at night in our yard as it is, without chickens. Maybe it's time to take a drive in Eastern Oregon...

  2. Rebecca, I sure hope you don't find a dog the way Chance did.She must have been a farm dog the way she is around farm animals.She will heard the chickens into the coop if you tell her to.And a favorite sport at my Dad's is to chase the horses around the round pen.
    Keeping Chickens safe from Raccoons can be done without a dog,you just need good building skills.