Mayhem in the garage and hen house

Curt Swarm - Empty Nest

All those double-yolk eggs might not be bringing the good luck I thought they would. I was backing the tractor into the garage to fill the fuel tank with diesel when I heard a crunch, bang and some popping noises. I stopped the tractor and turned around to see what I had run over. A sinking feeling swept through me. The roll bar on the tractor had caught on the garage door and about tore the whole thing down. Evidently I hadn’t opened the manual door all the way. Well, duh!
My first inclination was to tell myself, “This really didn’t happen.” But it had. (Ginnie’s so glad she didn’t do this!) I tried to lift the door back in place, but the more I tried, the worse it got. I placed an emergency call to my contractor. He came right out with his crew. He looked the damage over and said, “Well, at least you didn’t drive through the other end of the garage like another person who called me. I’ll order you a new door.” I’m glad my contractor has a sense of humor.
That night, I awoke at 2:00 a.m. I had forgotten to shut up the hen house before I went to bed. I grabbed a flashlight and headed out. The beam of light picked up the bad news. There was a dead chicken in front of the hen house. (That sinking feeling again.) Some critter had gotten it. I shown the light inside the hen house and looked at the mayhem. Boards were strewn every which way. The poor hens had had quite a night. They were bunched tightly on upper roosts, burring and buzzing about what they had been through. At least I only lost one hen. The poor thing.
My contractor was out the next morning replacing the garage door. I told him what had happened. He brought me out a live animal trap. Once a varmint gets the taste of chicken, it’ll be back.
Ginnie and I had chicken wings for supper that night. I took the bones and put them in a bowl inside the live animal trap—it likes chicken, I’ll give it chicken. I placed the trap in front of the hen house. Whatever kind of critter it was that had gotten my hen, by golly it was time for a little payback.
The next morning I anxiously checked the trap. Nothing. The second morning the same thing. On the forth morning, the morning of this writing, bingo. The trap yielded up a not-so-ferocious looking, gray-striped pussycat. I had suspected it might be a cat because (one) it had not carried the carcass off, and (two) I had seen a cat around the chicken house on a previous occasion.
Now, what to do with the cat? Is it feral? I will check with the neighbors, the closest one being a quarter of a mile away. If no one claims it I will turn it in to the county vet. Mystery solved, for the time being anyway.
For all the trauma and nighttime activity, the hens (I’m down to 11 now) haven’t missed a beat on laying. About every third egg is a double-yolker, and the eggs are getting nice sized. Ginnie and I have microwave eggs in-a-bowl just about every morning for breakfast, with bacon bits and cheese. Pretty soon we’ll have enough eggs to start giving them away. Nice brown eggs. Ginnie will be very popular at work.
At our garage sale during Old Threshers, a lady said she had a couple of hens she didn’t want. She was tired of them messing on her patio. Would I take them?
I don’t know how they’ll get along with my hens, but it might make for another story.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or find him on Facebook. Curt’s stories are also read at 106.3 FM in Farmington

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