Monday, March 12, 2012

Alarming Situation

I have never had a real predator problem before, but Dooley the dog pointed out the other day that something may have been trying to dig under the fence in the chicken yard. My chicken wire fence flares outward at the bottom and I have about 6” underground to deter unlawful entry. To prevent "climb overs" there is an extra two feet of unsupported wire at top of the fence which bows outward and flexes to the point that an animal trying to climb over the fence becomes unstable and drops off (in theory). Thankfully, it worked this time. Even though it may have been just a possum with no malicious intent it was obvious we would have to take further steps to protect the chickens.

I thought about putting one or two of the goats in the chicken yard at night as a deterrent but the chickens voted against it claiming the goats frequently told vulgar chicken jokes and sharing the yard would not be a viable solution for them. Dooley suggested we arm the chickens but we quickly realized they may end up shooting the goats. The easy answer was to put Dooley outside at night on guard duty. After further consideration I succumbed to the fear that Dooley may instinctively engage the enemy. The thought of Dooley tangling with a rabid raccoon, fox or bobcat would have kept me up all night every night. If he were a bigger dog perhaps…..

After several Swisher Sweet Double Barrel Rum Outlaw Cigars and after rejecting ideas like a brick enclosure with barbed wire coils on top, bringing the chickens into the cabin at night, and the goat’s idea of inviting the neighbors over for a chicken barbeque we finally decided on a sound activated alarm system.

We went to the grocery/hardware/feed store in town and got fifty feet of 1- 1/2” PVC pipe and four elbows. Starting with a 2 foot vertical piece topped with an elbow (pointing towards the coop) we ran the pipe underground from the chicken yard, under the cabin and up through the floor right next to Dooley’s Indian sleeping blanket. Any disturbance in the chicken yard would be transmitted through the pipe, wake Dooley up, he would wake me up and we’d both go out and eliminate the threat with extreme prejudice.

Two nights later the “alarm” went off and we quickly discovered a raiding party of raccoons attempting entrance into the yard. For you city folk, the raccoon will reach into a coop and pull the legs and heads off of unsuspecting chickens. They are nasty dudes. Dooley reminded me that it was my idea to lure a raccoon into the area last month with a bag of scraps just for entertainment purposes (see blog post “Idle Minds” for details). Lesson learned.

As a note, the sound activated alarm is still in place but we had to make a few modifications. We put a piece of screen over the end at the chicken yard to keep mice out (mice get extra hungry in the winter), and we added two more elbows and two 3 inch pieces of pipe at the chicken end to keep rain from entering the system. We also got a removable cap that we put over the cabin end of the pipe to eliminate chicken noises in the cabin during the day.

Dooley wanted me to mention that there is a patent pending on our alarm system but we are willing issue a limited use license for a small fee or a really good piece of apple pie.

Irene Note: Any questons about this blog? Please email me at:


Langela said...

I sure have enjoyed reading your posts and love your sense of humor.

Roger said...

I'm so glad you have been enjoying the blog! I don't get a lot of comments and I sometimes wonder if anyone is actually reading my stories. It's feedback like yours that keeps me writing. Thanks, Roger

Angela said...

Those coons are a menace aren't they! My girls, Two and Jazz, had a coon trapped up in a tree all day long. Come nightfall I guess the coon got tired of that craziness and decided to come down. That coon got Jazz really good. She came in with blood all over her face. It got her good at her eye lid. I had to take her to the vet and get 2 stitches. She wore the cone of shame for a week! lol Two got a small slash on the side of her face but it didn't require stitches. I did do a post on this back in June if you want to see the pictures.

Dooley stay away from those coons! They are mean and vicious!

Anita said...

You have another reader...I enjoy reading about you experiences in my native county. Love the picture of the creek.

Roger said...

Thank you and welcome. I love that creek picture, too. I took it about eight years ago when I was still just a visitor to this place.