Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Year of the Snake

SPOILER WARNING: No animals were harmed in the course of this blogpost. It does, however, fall under the City Girl's definition of "Too Much Nature."

In our relatively short tenure living here on Maxwell Creek, we've encountered very few snakes - until this year. Just in the past three months or so, we've had six snake encounters. Only two were fatal to the snakes - for the most part, we're pretty easy to get along with. Rat snakes eat vermin of the rodent persuasion, and for that reason, we're not committed to kill every snake we see. But if a snake is threatening our chicks or eggs, we draw the line and lift the truce.

Let us OUT!!!

Today was the first time I've seen a snake in a nest box and allowed it to live. Mostly because it was too much trouble to go get the tools I'd need to kill it. And because it was my third nest box snake encounter, I was only momentarily startled and experienced only a mild adrenaline rush. Plus, my friend Cyndi down the road sees snakes all the time and her family plays with them before relocating them away from their chickens. (I'll pass, thanks.) I respect snakes, but I'm not going to wig out over them.

I was almost finished with my chores and I went out to the south pasture to let the Marans and the Buffs out of their pens (or "tractors"). The Marans, in particular, seemed very anxious to get out and start their free rangin' day. When I lifted up the large metal door on the back of the tractor to check for eggs, what did I see but Mr. Rascaly Rat Snake laying right in the nest. No wonder the hens wanted out.


I tried a couple of things to scare him off, but he only slithered under the nest boxes and hid from view. I realized that those chicken tractors are not at all snake proof, so frightening him off would only be of temporary use. So I left him alone and went about my business, knowing full well he'd be half a mile away later in the day. I did leave the big metal door open, exposing the nest boxes to full sun, to discourage the hens from using those nests for the rest of the day. You can't be too careful. A thorough search of the tractors and that end of the pasture later in the day turned up zero snakes.

This is just one more reason I'm looking forward to cooler weather: Snake hibernation.

In non-reptile news, Queen Ester is becoming a bona fide member of the flock. As you can see, she is now smack in the middle of the feeding frenzy at the hay trough. She does have the dignity and decorum not to crawl into the hay, unlike her dinner companion, Shadrach. Maybe she can teach him some manners.

And a bonus farm moment: Robbie doesn't get much camera time because he is such a homebody, and not exactly extroverted. But tonight, while he was waiting for the signal to come get his supper, he looked particularly winsome. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Sure I would play with a snack about as much as I would play with an alligator. Nope, not gonna happen!!!!
    Awh! It is so nice to see the Queen is getting more comfortable with her subjects!!

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