Will ran hysterical into the house, "There is a snake in the chicken house!"
My standard plan in case of predator attack on my chickens is to get the shotgun, and hit it with the turkey load. However, our main concern here is chicken hawks... at this point, I had never really considered different plans for different predators.
Feeling quite smug at my confident level-headedness, I grabbed the shotgun, inserted a turkey nitro load, and headed toward the chicken coop.
When I peeked inside, this is the sight that greeted me:
Yikes! My plan was unraveling, and fast! Scott had warned me how powerful this load was. He had told me that I could kill a chicken hawk in the sky from quite a distance. Hmmm... If I were to unload on this snake at close range, I was afraid I would blow the side of the chicken coop off!
Scott's reaction played through my mind, and I knew that I needed to come up with plan B.
In the meantime, what was I supposed to do with my loaded shotgun? Take the shell out, of course! Oh, no.... I didn't remember that part of my chicken predator-killing 101 class! What to do... Everything inside me knew that it would NOT be wise to bring a loaded shotgun back into my bedroom and wait for Scott to arrive. My only option seemed clear:
I shouldered the gun, gripped it tightly, made sure kids and chickens were clear, took it off safety, and let 'er rip.
With shoulder aching and ears ringing, I carried the gun back into the house, still trying to formulate plan B. Scott was at football, so I called our farmer friend, Ron. His response was not what I was expecting...
"Well, you're just gonna have to grab it and get it outta there. It's just a king snake... it's not poisonous... you better kill it, though, or it will keep coming back."
???GRAB IT??? Did he just say GRAB IT???
I replied, "Uh, Ron, you've got to give me another option... I can't grab it!"
After assuring me that his daughter did that sort of thing all the time, etc... He finally gave me another plan. Get something, scare it out of the box, and kill it. (Even though it wasn't poisonous, we did not want it to return and continue feasting on our eggs!)
Plan B was in place. I sent Hannah for the camera, Will for the Axe, and Sarah for the hoe. Josh found a log which he raised above his head, poised to smash it to death (just in case I missed).
Back at the chicken coop, deciding on our exact course of action, I had just about convinced myself that I could indeed conquer my fear and grab this snake. Whoosh... Letting out a deep breath, I moved in a little closer. Knees and hands trembling... not good... I can do this... I reach out to grab the snake.
Irrationally, I begin screaming and doing a little dance. I try again. Same result. I guess my mechanism that prevents me from doing things foolish and dangerous is in good working order.
Grabbing the hoe, I give it a little poke. Maybe I can scare it out of the box. Poke. Poke. Poke. Finally, he slithers off behind one nesting box and into another. This box was actually a real box tipped on its side and filled with hay. It seemed like a good idea to just pick up the box, remove it from the coop, and kill the snake outside.
As I picked the box up, I promise the snake leaped out of the box and began searching for an escape route! Aaahh!!! Screaming the entire time, I grabbed the hoe and pinned it down. The plan was to cut it's head off; however, I only succeeded in making it angry! Now there is a hissing, writhing snake on the ground... Thankful that we were fully armed, I had Will hold the handle of the hoe and pass me the axe. I proceded to start hacking at that poor snake. Any previous pity I had felt had been replaced by an adrenaline filled need to make sure this snake was completely dead!
We made sure that the snake was not going to come back alive and seek revenge. Whew... Glad that was over with!