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Keeping Chickens Newsletter

Page 07

September 2011 Vol. 2

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September 2011
Vol. 2

James Hinkle : Hi Gina, from the Texas Gulf Coast; Thought I would share some of my experiences with you. I have six hens that I keep in a portable coop made from an old dog kennel and some boat jacks. It works fairly well, though I need a wheel on the front yet. For now when ever my son drops by from college the two of us move it. I have been having problems with large Coyotes (they are bigger than my lab) grabbing chickens through the wire and pulling them underneath the coop. I put up an electric fence and so far it has been effective. I watch frequently from high ground with my rifle, but haven't seen them when I am armed.

I have been letting the hens free range during the day when I am home. The other day when I was out in the barn I heard one of the hens give an alert, so I checked it out. She was in the weeds standing very alert when suddenly she jumped and in a panic came running to me and the dog, right behind her was a three foot long brown snake moving fast. I carry a little pocket pistol around the house, and with a quick draw that make Roy Rodgers proud I dispatched the viper with a quick shot to the head. It stopped immediately, stone cold dead. Lucky shot! Shortly after I collected eggs - It looked like that scared hen layed four eggs, though I suspect she had some help. I would not want to use this little pistol on a large rattle snake, because the effective range with rat shot is about four feet, the same range as the larger snakes. Plan, B, get a hoe or shovel with a long handle.

Yesterday evening I noticed one of the hens standing still and all fluffed up by the out door fire place. I went to her and her head and neck were badly swollen, no doubt a copper head bite. She didn't want to move so I picked her up and put her in the chicken house. She got on the roost and just rocked back and forth like she was drunk with her eyes closed, then when the other hens came to roost I noticed a second hen with a fat head though not as

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Keeping Chickens Newsletter - Published September 2011 by