Oh friends! Our new system of letting the chickens out in a fenced area has given me a little learning curve!
It’s nothing new that I have evening chores with the birds. Of course I collect the eggs, I check to make sure they’re all looking healthy, I bring them water if they need it and just generally check in with them. I’m not a very time-focused person, though, and with our previous system I might get out there late or I might be early and it didn’t really make much difference.
🌙 🐓 😴
A couple of weeks ago, though, we had pretty much just switched to this new system of letting them out so I didn’t really have it in my head that I needed to be timely getting home and getting the door shut. I went out to dinner with some of the most fabulous people in the world (former co-workers) and I was having a fantastic time, so it was 8:30 by the time I left.
On the way home I realized, “Oh! I still need to shut the coop!” so I hurried straight out to get those chickens dealt with. I went over the fence, walked in, shut the door. I decided to count the chickens just to check in–I don’t do that every day, but…new system, good idea to check. Part of the chickens like to perch on the roost, but a bunch of the girls like to sleep on the collar ties (basically the rafters of the coop). So I walk in and I’m counting: 1,2,3,4,…etc. etc. …35, 36, 37, 38- I stick my head around the plastic “wall” we have up as a windbreak and keep going.
As I get around the corner of the windbreak and am on the roost side, I see something small flit out of sight on the opposite side of the coop. What was that?! I pull my head back over to the nest box side of the windbreak and what do I see, but a frantic looking SKUNK trying to understand why the gaping wide opening it came through isn’t there anymore.
That’s right, frantic skunk because skunks LOVE eggs, which I have only now come to collect AND because I have just blithely shut the door on my way in, so what I have basically done is LOCK MYSELF IN THE COOP WITH A SKUNK.
🦨 ❤️ 🥚
So now I’m standing on the side of the coop the farthest from the door. The skunk is between me and the exit and coming around the coop toward me. I’m calculating at what point in the trajectory we collide, whether or not the smell would get in the eggs, and how much tomato juice costs. And mostly I’m just thinking OH NO! OH NO! OH NO!
🍅 🥤 🍅 🥤
To get to the door I would typically walk down the nest box side of the windbreak. The only problem is that is going to put me within three feet of the skunk.
Now I’m calculating how long I can live in the coop with the chickens and the skunk and who I know that could bring me food. Would the fire department consider this equivalent to a cat up a tree situation?
Finally, I decide I need to do something. First, I decide that I don’t want to startle the skunk, so I start talking to it: “Hi, Skunky! I am over here. I am about to move toward the door. Do not mind me, I am a friendly person…!” Next I decide to try my luck on the far side of the windbreak next to the roost. I work my way over to the door side of the world and squeeze my arm through a gap between the windbreak and the wall. Now my plan is to flop the door open and let the skunk out, but I’m not strong enough to push it all the way open from where my hand is (next to the hinges), so I just hold the door for a moment and hope for the best. After an awkward moment I decide to check on progress and sure enough the skunk was gone.
So basically, I just held a door open for a skunk.
Anyway, needless to say since then I am much more careful about getting that door shut on time. Once was enough for that little adventure!