I knew that moving to a farm would provide an education for my kids. I understood that the experiences and responsibilities they would have would shape them in ways I couldn’t imagine.
What I didn’t know is how much life on a farm would impact me.
On Friday night, I was feeding the goats when I heard the awful sound of a chicken screaming. It was a horrible screeching, squawking noise that I knew immediately meant danger.
As I flew across the yard to get to the coop, I had two quick thoughts. First, David was away from the farm that night and his cell had stopped working right before he left. I couldn’t contact him. Two, I had no idea what was in the coop with the chickens and no weapon of any sort to go after it.
Having raised my chickens from week-old chicks and planning to keep them on as egg layers for as long as possible, I am very fond of my flock. I feel very protective of them and the idea of losing them to a predator makes me sad. It’s my job to take care of them so they can go on providing sustenance for my family.
With my heart in my throat I flew into the coop to find my rooster bellowing, the hens running for cover and an opossum hiding behind the nesting box. I also found one of my Silkies laying in a heap in the yard.
I was terrified. While I have had to have family dogs put down for various reasons, I have never had to personally kill an animal. I felt more out of my element then I have felt since our move. I had no idea how to proceed.
While trying to weigh my options, the opossum made a move grabbing our other Silkie and trying to make a run for it. I guess you could say that’s when my Mom instincts kicked in. I grabbed a pitch fork from the corner and defended my chick.
I won’t go into the details. Suffice it to say, after seemingly knocking it unconscious and several calls to other farm folks and my brother who all could do nothing but keep me from freaking out, I was able to detain the opossum until David was able to rid us of it.
Thankfully, our Silkies are recovering. Having seen another large opossum in the pasture next door, I plan on getting in some target practice and carrying at least an air-soft pistol with me to feed.
It was a horrible experience. I don’t know who I cried for more, my chicks or the opossum. Taking another life is not pleasant. I will do it again to save my livestock, but I will never come to enjoy it.