Chicken Tractor For Sale!

Failure.  I am a complete failure as an owner of laying hens.

Two Sunday mornings ago, I went to feed the hens and collect the eggs, only to find that La Petite Rouge was gone.  It was as though she had just vanished.  I could see no way that any critter could have gotten into the pen and escaped with her in tow.

Maybe someone opened the egg-hatch door and she escaped since there were no signs of struggle.

Gray Girl - The Lone Survivor

I just did my best to secure the pen to protect my egg providers in case it was a predator.  But yesterday morning when I went to gather the eggs and feed the two remaining girls, there were signs of struggle everywhere.

Feathers once belonging to Goldie, the biggest of the three hens, covered the ground inside the pen and around the outside.  I felt sick.  I had allowed a predator to somehow invade the chicken coop and steal a second of my prized hens.

I borrowed an animal trap (the humane kind), baited it with shrimp, and set it, hoping to catch a opossum or a huge wild cat.

The first thing I caught was the neighbor’s feral cat.  I promptly released him with an admonishment to stay away from my yard if he knew what was good for him.

This morning, I am happy to report that Gray Girl is still alive, hiding in the nesting box, but the shrimp were eaten, the trap door was sprung, and the culprit had escaped.  There is only one animal that smart–a raccoon.

Chaoui and Baby

Having raised two baby coons in my house alongside our little dog and kittens, it sickens me to be so graphically reminded what vicious predators these creatures can be.  Of course, I don’t have proof positive, but opossums and cats are just not dexterous or intelligent enough to figure out how to open a trap door and escape.

The trap will be set again tonight, this time anchored to the ground so it won’t be flipped on its side as it was today.  If I catch the coon, I will be releasing it in a nearby marsh.

Meanwhile, I have one gray hen suffering from Post Traumatic Raccoon Attack Syndrome and that lays blue eggs.  25 pounds of cracked corn and 25 pounds of lay pellets.  And one used chicken tractor for sale really cheap!

Going to the store for stale eggs,

BW

You may also like...

Comments

Chicken Tractor For Sale! — 36 Comments

  1. You’re right. That’s a coon at work. No question in my mind.

    Here’s a coon story for you. I’d sailed down to Port O’Connor and was tied up at the Army Hole – state land. Two or so park rangers lived there. The night after the coon boarded the boat and ate EVERY ONE of my Pepperidge Farm cookies, the rangers told this story:

    They came home late one night , just at sunset. They noticed a screen was off a kitchen window. When they came in, there sat the coon in the middle of the kitchen table. It had the jar of peanut butter, which it had opened. It was sitting there happily dipping and licking peanut butter with its paws, and didn’t even think to stop when they walked in.

    Some day I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t train raccoons to follow a trail of marshmallows through your house. 😉

    • Lady, your brain harbors so many interesting stories and anecdotes, I can’t even imagine what kind of story marshmallow trails and raccoons might follow. I will remind you to tell me next time we talk on the phone! Unless, of course, my readers demand the story here!!! I am not at all surprised by the story of the coon eating their peanut butter and your Milano cookies (am I right about the type?). They are very vindictive creatures. When I would tell my coon “NO!” she would hide under the bed, and when I least expected it, she would race up the headboard, land at the top of the pillow, and start pulling my hair with her velvet paws creating coon tangles!!!

  2. I’m sorry to hear this. I really enjoyed watching your chickens when I was visiting you. I had a problem with coons too when I had chickens while living in the country.

    • I know. It was sad. I want someone else to take Gray Girl so that her life will be spared. I can’t bring her down here because we saw a big coon going up into the roof of our old house yesterday, and she most likely has babies up there. So, she would be no better off down here.

      • How much for the tractor and hen? Racoons are smart devils, I had one open the door to the house, get inside and smear bacon grease from one end of the house to the other. I have seen them dragging an enormous turkey under a fence and had one that jerked the chickens leg through the wire and chew it off. So, yea, it was probably a coon.

        • Eeeeee gads, Patti! Girl, it is so good to hear from you. When the wind calms down, I want to make a run to the coast and go trout fishing on the island or the Pickets. Do you think we can find our way? Lost all my routes when the old GPS died, and I just don’t trust my memory AND things change so quickly between here and there I probably won’t recognize a thing! I’ll message you on FB later . . . .

  3. Belay that!

    Never consider yerself a failure – especially having looked after those hens to the best of yer ability & resources. La Petite Rouge sounds like an escape artist (perhaps there was an accomplice?)…Goldie an unfortunate victim o’ circumstance (and that fact there was no carcass sounds like something larger and hungrier than a raccoon – though the ‘coon may have facilitated the hen getting out).

    On to new adventures!

    • How is the Canada flooding scenario shaping up? I think most of us are unaware that your beautiful lands are suffering high river levels and impending doom by flood. Care to take time to update us?

      • It’s been wet everywhere (just stopped 6 days o’ rain here in S. Ontario – about 5 inches worth on already saturated ground). Many Farmers are ready to pack it in as fields are flooded (most around here look more like ponds now) – some have missed 3 plantings and if they did manage to get anything in the early planting, it’s rotting in the fields presently.

        Manitoba has a similar situation to Louisiana in that the Assiniboine River (a major feeder o’ the Red River that flows down toward the head o’ the Mississippi) is flooding from all the rain and they had to cut a breach in the levee (flooding about 150 homes/properties) to divert away from some 850 homes in the city (Winnipeg – or as we like to call it Winter Pig). The controlled flood seems to be in hand; they’ve reduced the potential coverage from 225 square km (about 87 sq. mi.) to 180 square km (58 sq. mi.) and the armed forces have been shoring up the river dikes in 17 places that have become weak. Read more here http://j.mp/irRtW5
        Yesterday, one o’ the dikes started leaking causing some more distress, but it seems to be in hand now http://j.mp/jzgIrI

        Two provinces west of the flood, there’s a huge wildfire http://j.mp/lZtodr

        It’s been a hell of a spring…

  4. I kept chickens for a while, got up one morning to find them gone and nothing but blood and feathers. Free range is a lit, I tell you! My son is raising peacocks now, and they just had babies, and then I got my coons that I feed too so I spend a lot of time making sure no one gets eaten, LOL. I probably shouldn’t worry as much as I do because a fully grown pissed off male peacock is a formidable sight even to a coon. Love me some raccoons but sometimes I wonder if I’m too trusting.

    • My chickens never got to “free range” because of all the feral cats in the area. They were taken OUT of that pen and it was almost an impossible task. I miss having free range chickens, and next time I will do a better job of this.

  5. Aw, so sad!! I had chickens at one time…. and a duck. Late one night my Dad heard a ruckus in the coop we kept them in… a mink had gotten to my rooster and bit him on his head. No clue we even had such animals in the middle of town in Morgan City. Such a sad day!!

    • Melanie, I forget, do you still have family in M.C. and are they evacuating? I am looking for people who are packing up to leave whom I can go talk to and take photos of for an article/blog post about the positive side of the “Sacrificial Lands”.

  6. I used to have little baby turkeys, Bert and Ernie that went to a horrible raccoon demise, I’ve never owned poultry since then. I can always get you some lovely government powdered eggs if the store kind don’t suit. 🙂

  7. A skunk is one smart critter, but you can usually tell when they are around.

    If you want to keep your chickens, buy a goose. A goose is over protective of its home. Its not only a natural burglar alarm (no one will ever sneak up to your home), but a great yard bully. Put a goose out and I assure you if the goose doesn’t run off the varmint, he will let you know there is a problem going on that he can’t handle.

  8. Hubby and I are down in Grand Isle and just got back from purchasing some shrimp and crabs. Guess what we saw when drove up to the fisherman’s house? A Chicken Tractor! I’d never seen or heard of them till your post when you purchased yours. It was a bit eerie seeing one today and then 15 minutes later seeing your post. Before you sell, try that trap again and put a lock on the tractor. Powered or “store bought” eggs just can’t be compared to fresh yard eggs!

  9. Verizon Wireless or ATT?

    Your mesh is too big. You got mink around there?
    Put mesh on the bottom too. Less scratching and digging but no submarine warfare.

    Smell Robert’s breath..

    I am going to get pix of my new chicken buddies at Lil E where I been flyfishing for bream.

    Thread on gill fest here.

    http://www.warmfly.com/smf/index.php?topic=4830.0

    Enjoy..

  10. We always used machine mesh or the small diameter chicken wire. That looks like netting you have, not good.

    • Okay. It worked. I got to see all your fishes and ties before I got to see the chick pix. Blu, I must say that I am very, very impressed with your patience at fly tying (is that a word?) and at bream fishing. Do you keep them all? Or is it CNR mostly? And I just love the looks of the colorful flies you design. I always heard they have to mimic what is in hatch on the surface during that season, but I think they just bite your flies because they are so attractive!! I am duly impressed, my sole-fishing friend. Did you ever find chenille?

  11. Matching the hatch makes it a grueling sport. It is snobs that spread that stuff. Fish are predators. Predators seek out the different. Coyotes don’t bother the herd they attack the defenseless new born and old or crippled. How many LSU cocahoes you seen in the bayou???

    I’ll order some chenille up next order from fly supply house. By the way that green and metallic number is pretty hot in the water.

    I toss them back unless someone wants them. I clean crappies once in awhile but water will be too warm for that soon. Off this week so might try tonight if rain stays away for a few.

  12. Sorry U lost your hens. R’coons are smart and tricky as U well know. Grey Girl, the blue egg layer is an americuana chicken, a cross btw an auracuana and an american hen. the auricuana is the part that gets the blue eggs. I used to have over 40 hens. they finally got to be too much for me so we put them in the gumbo pot a few at a time, by way of the freezer. now no more hens. the feed got really expensive. I had a good egg business but at the rate feed was going Id have had to charg 3$ a doz for eggs lol. oh well. I still miss em tho. chickens are fun! whatever critter is getting into the tractor it’s because the wire on the outside has too big holes. needs chicken wire. with tiny holes. give it another try that way. have a good one BW.

    • Oh yes, I know coons are smart. It has not come close to the trap I set since the first night. This is my third, and smallest experience with laying hens. In the past, I had them down here at my home in the back yard in a big pen. They would free range in the day and put themselves back in the pen, way up high in their protected roost at night, and I would close the gate. We still had problems with opossums getting into the pen. My first batch got eaten by coy-dogs during an overnight hurricane evacuation. Terrible carnage. My second batch included an Easter Egger named Angel, and she was the greatest chicken ever. One by one, they disappeared from the yard with no signs of struggle. Either a large predator bird was picking them off or someone on the highway crew was taking home dinner. I almost prefer the second. And that pretty much ended my chicken ownership. However, I loved watching them scratch around the yard (I never had a garden or beautiful flowers for them to destroy) and their noises soothed me. I missed having them, so when a friend of mine was getting rid of this contraption, I thought I would give it a shot up at Camp Dularge. It’s a little more populated up there, a lot more houses around, so I thought there would be less wildlife. I never got to let these hens free range because of all the cats in the neighborhood, so I felt bad about them being in this little pen, although I would move it to a fresh patch of grass daily. Whatever got Petite Rouge and Goldie, did not go through the wire. The critter removed the hens from the pen, as though it could open the egg hatch, but that is impossible unless it was a human. I know because it was still latched with both disappearances. This time I discovered where the varmint got it. I’m sure it got cut by the raw edges of the wire, because the wire went down to the ground. It strategically bent each wire up until it got through. The pen was on a slant, which allowed a big enough gap for it to slither through. What puzzles me is how it got the hen out through the same hole with it. I guess if you squeeze a hen, the widest part are the shoulders, and that’s not very wide, right? But you and Blu are right that it would be safer for them if I put smaller mesh, and sealed up the bottom. I”m not ready to give it up yet, really. I love having the fresh eggs for my family.

  13. ps Its bream Ive been after at lake martin, like your friend blufloyd .no flys for me but exterme ultra lite rig and tiny beetle spins fun fun fun CNR unless my neighbor lady wants a few-she frys em crispy and eats bones and all(???!!!)

  14. Close enough. Watching River dog kill bumblebees and reading and doing garden.

    Lake Martin, hmmmmm. I need to check out that.

    Got a few crappie/gill micro jigs to tie. Then another till for the mud that is garden. Coffee grounds and lawn clipping to incorporate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *