Friday, April 15, 2016

A Dangerous Place

Someone ate all of the corn out of the bags for our corn toss game, which were stored in the barn.  I have a pretty good idea who it was...

Slowly, I'm sorting through all the things that are stored in the corn crib,which has been stuffed full of odds and ends.  One of the biggest things taking up space was the carpet rolls I saved to kill grass in the garden.  I decided to use it to smother the grass and weeds that are growing in what will eventually be the green house.  

Guess who I found dozing under the carpet rolls?  Carlos the black rat snake and his friend, all coiled together.  Shiver.  They didn't even move when I pulled the carpet rolls from over their bodies.   

I can understand why the snakes picked that location.  Within one of the carpet rolls was an entire family of mice.  It's a barn ecosystem - the snakes that eat the mice that eat the corn toss bags in the barn that Rain bought!  The carpet roll was housing big mice, medium mice, and even cute little baby mice, like the one in the picture above trying to hide from me in a carpet hole.  

The sun is so bright, he needs to wear shades.  

A couple of bigger mice ran out over my hands when I yanked on the carpet roll (yikes!), but the little mice sort of fell about as I dragged it into place and unrolled it.  The chickens enjoyed this treat, although I tried not to watch the carnage.  Seeing and smelling the mess the mice made in the carpet, and reminding myself about the hantavirus, kept me from saving the adorable babies from the greedy chickens.  The last thing I need is pet mice, right?  Sorry snakes, the chickens just ate your dinner.

Chickens can be jerks.  I don't think they are motivated by meanness, but there are times it's hard to understand their motivation.  I hear little squawks from them all the time as they sort out their position in the pecking order.  I recently heard a prolonged squeal that was not the normal insulted squawk, but sounded like someone in distress.  

The chickens like to lounge under an elderberry shrub near their coop.  As I approached, I could see this young hen on the ground with a ring of other chickens around her pecking at her while she screamed.  At first I though she was wounded and they were trying to eat her!  Oh no you don't chickens - if anybody gets to eat a chicken around here, it's going to be me! Scat!

It turns out, she wasn't hurt, but was stuck under a grape vine that grows in the elderberry shrub.  She some how scooted her body under the vine and got her wings on the top.  She was pinned to the ground and the others were casually pecking her.  Jerks!  I pulled her out and she left a few feathers, but was unharmed.  I never considered a wild grape vine to a threat to chickens.  It's a dangerous place.

1 comment:

MA said...

Maybe they were encouraging it to try harder?

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