Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chickens gone runnin'

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!


Julie McAfee said...

We are proud of you in the snake killing department. I promise you I would have run screaming and would never go back into the chicken house. Great job in the running department too. Go Spartans.

Lynn said...

All I can say is that you are one brave Momma!!!

Gurtrude said...

I have caught 3 or 4 of those kinds of snakes this year and got so attached to them I couldn't bear the idea of daddy killing them. So we let them go down the road.

Once mommy killed a snake and daddy put around my neck and it's reflexes made it choke me!

Anita said...

Oh, my!! I'm afraid I would have left the snake there with the eggs and the chickens and that would have been the end of our egg business.

Em said...

Hahaha!! This made me laugh out loud!

If it helps, my reaction would have been the calls, kid's help, right down to the screaming and dancing.

One time we had a rabbit that died. It TOTALLY creeped me out b/c when dead, it went totally FLAT, like an alien had sucked out the insides. Gross.

A few days later, I looked out the window and the other rabbit was flat! I called a friend, freaking out...I could NOT look out the window and see that flat rabbit all day. She talked me down, gave me courage that I COULD pick up the flat, dead rabbit and toss it. So I gather up the whole crew, and out we go. I was talking to myself the whole time (You can DO this, Emily. You're a grown woman. Buck up...).

End of story: we get to the cage, go to pick up the rabbit...and it hopped up!!!!!! NOT DEAD. Scared the heck out of me. His name was Lazarus from then on.

Thanks for another great farm story, from one accidental farm wife to another.

Meal Planning with Connie said...

This is too funny!! Love it!!
Hugs and much love to all!!

Myriam Sanders said...

That is so funny.

Roan said...

(again, this is Olivia) LOL! You are so brave!!!! My mama would have screamed, ran away and never come back! That snake is HUGE.
Thanks for posting a picture of my slippers!! I'm glad you wear them. And, I LOVE YOUR HAIR IN BRAIDS!!

Hannah said...

LOL!! I probably wouldn't have picked it up either! That's one huge snake!

We're proud of you Mrs. Heather!


Emily said...

More 'Redneck Adventures'! This snake was enjoying your eggs! I can't believe he stuck around through all the screaming and poking.

Roan said...

I am dying just thinking about it! Olivia is right! I would have come inside screaming and just left the snake until Jimmy got home. I am so glad I don't live on your farm! :)
Good thinking, taking pictures for the blog!

Sheri said...

I loved - "GRAB IT? Did he just say, GRAB IT???" LOL! You are my hero! Good job!


Anonymous said...

You are so Brave! I would have stayed inside with the door locked because if i didn't i would have fainted.


Nathan said...

So Hannah got pictures of the snake but not you doing your little dance!

Once me and Hannah where walking down the street and a king snake went a cross the street
Me: Hey Hannah there is a snake on the road
Nathan run to the house (witch was rather far away) and get a hoe!!!


Virginia said...

full-on, late-night belly laugh!!!

Anonymous said...

What a great way to start the morning - the kids and I have had so much fun talking about your adventure. I love the fact that in all your excitement, you thought straight enough to get the camera!

I can just imagine Ron saying "just pick it up my daughter does it all the time." Gotta love those Brandons!

Heather, you are wonder woman!

The Stringer's said...

You amaze me yet again. First, the deer story and now a snake! wow! I'm impressed. Wished I could of watched you do it.

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...

Love this post! I went between horror to admiration to laughing and back through it all again. Good for you -- though I do have the chills now.

Tom T said...

Too funny! Poor snake! I used to catch snakes all the time when I was a kid. I would have taken him a few miles down the road. They do kill rodents too. Oh well, good job by the way, I was laughing all the way through the story.

Miekie said...

I would have DIED! Good for you to actually have done it yourself! I would have waited until my husband came home and he would not have been too thrilled with me.... I have never touched a snake or killed one, but my husband has killed several in and around our house - mostly the cobra variety.

Whoz Your Doula said...

All I have to say is that you are a braver woman then me. I would have used the gun.