Look What I Found in the Henhouse

Bring it on.

This is a post about what a tough girl I am, as you can clearly see from the photo above.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First: Remember this?

Moxie and babies.JPG

Of course you do, because the last time I posted here was with a video of those babies dust bathing. And then I didn’t post again for over a month, so you couldn’t possibly know that those three babies are almost as big as their mama now, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got two hens and a rooster. Hurrah! Their names are Proxy, Magic, and Spirit. Because those are the sort of names tough girls give their fluffy and adorable little kittenish chickens. The mama is Moxie–I wrote about her as a baby too.

And, like all good mamas everywhere, Moxie got done raising that batch and moved right on to the next batch. Because what is the point of life if you don’t have babies in the brooder?

Mama Hen

Sadly, our rooster had to go to the soup pot chicken heaven a couple weeks before Moxie decided to sit on the eggs, mostly because he attacked Everett in the face with his claws and beak. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of the plucking, butchering, and cooking of the bird that tried to blind my son but it’s hard to hold a camera when your hands are bloody I’m sorry I didn’t post a memorial for him.

Anyway, since she hadn’t been with a man in a couple weeks, I took Moxie’s eggs away and was going to replace them with fertile quail or duck eggs. But I candled Moxie’s eggs before throwing them away, just in case, you know? And that girl surprised me again. Gosh darn if one of those eggs didn’t have a baby swimming around inside.

Did you know a hen can store sperm for up to two weeks after her last mating?

What I’m trying to say is that the baby is practically a miracle, a veritable virgin birth. Or at least a post-virginity-celibacy birth. That is to say, not a birth so much as a live chicken that hasn’t yet hatched and whose mother hasn’t had sex in two weeks. It’s like Jesus come back to earth again. And then A SNAKE ALMOST ATE THE JESUS CHICKEN.

Except not really. I mean, he wanted to, I could see it in his eyes. But I got to him first. Because I’m that tough (remember? That’s the point here).

I’m posting this again because someone on Facebook said I look like a Minoan snake goddess and that’s not the sort of look you can rock every single day.

He did try to take a chunk out of Moxie though, and he did sort of manage it too. In the picture of him in the henhouse, you can see how his tail is on one side of the wire and the rest of his body on the other.  I had tried to pull him out before taking that picture, but he braced himself against the wire and I was worried I would injure him felt it was unsporting to use brute force. So I waited until he had completely settled onto the floor, then reached in and grabbed him as far up his body as I could reach–which turned out to be right about in the middle of his body.

So that his head was completely free to strike.

Have you ever seen a snake strike?



I’m really glad I didn’t watch THAT right before finding the snake in the hen house. I could totally take that coming at me, of course, but it turns out this guy was still in a hunting frame of mind and chicken is tastier than human. I assume. (Why are you looking at me funny?)

When I grabbed him, he struck and got Moxie by the tail. I pulled him out of the henhouse quick as I could, and he pulled her right behind him, squawking like crazy. As soon as he was free of the henhouse, he began winding his body around hers, going for the kill even as I was gathering him up.

Fortunately, he only had feathers in his mouth, or it could have been bad. I’m not sure how I would have gotten him loose if he’d been embedded in her skin. I might have had to pull out my bowie knife and cut him loose and then stitch up the gaping bloody wound in poor Moxie’s side (somebody please look up “bowie knife” and make sure I’m using the term correctly–it might not be the best sort of knife for that kind of job, but it sounds impressive. I think). She eventually fell away from him by force of gravity. And probably also a little bit of inertial force as I vigorously shook the snake back and forth in my panic. And probably also from my bold, quick-thinking, and agile moves that dislodged her from his grip.

The upshot is that Moxie is fine. The baby is still developing and expected to hatch later this week. The snake is exploring a new home about a mile away from here. And, of course, Heather is tough. Like a Minoan snake goddess or something.

Tomorrow or maybe next week but probably sometime this year perhaps I’ll show you what we did with the snake before releasing him. Because tough girls like me know how to turn snakes into science lessons.

Note: The video of the snake striking is not my own. It’s from the Youtube channel of Brian Cleary. Tough girls cite their sources.

11 responses to “Look What I Found in the Henhouse

    • Thanks! Much better than “You look like a regular hillbilly mama!” Which is what another friend told me today. Maybe he missed the piercing and intelligent look in my eyes? Clearly, at any rate, he missed the point. Right? :p

  1. My God, you are a hell of a woman. I am now worried about my little chicks that i recently received from backyard chicken …the perils….can i call you for coop protection?
    I can’t kill or at least don’t know it yet….

    • LOL! Don’t worry, you’ll know what to do when the time comes. The snake is probably my fault–I throw old eggs (when I find them buried in the hay) into the woods sometimes, and I probably taught him to come around for them. And also, I can’t kill, either, I think. We released this guy into the woods–after thoroughly examining him and handing him from child to child (I had my lot AND a friend’s kids that day). We do butcher for meat occasionally, but my dear beloved husband always does the hard part–the actual killing–and I clean it up & prep it for cooking. There are SO many perils when raising chicks, but the good news is most of them grow up just fine. 🙂 Have fun!

  2. Wow snakes scare me I don’t think I would have been that brave. I think I would have ran screaming for my hubby. I am always worried when I go to my hen house that there will be a snake in there… I am hoping not as we do keep it clean and free of bad eggs. You are a brave woman 🙂

    • It helps a lot that I actually like snakes. 🙂 Of course, wild ones ordinarily give me pause, as they will sometimes strike out of fear. Logically, it would have made sense to wear the leather gloves that are in a shed next to the henhouse, but I wasn’t really thinking about it. I just really needed him not to eat my miracle chick. Which, by the way, was tapping away inside the egg this morning… we will have a baby by tomorrow afternoon. 😀

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