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City Chicken Slicker Flood Adventures | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

City Chicken Slicker Flood Adventures

Two years ago, my daughter got her first chickens. Yes, we’re urban chicken owners. 

She loves animals, is in our county’s 4H Livestock Club and Future Farmers of America, and hopes to someday work in food and crop science.

She brought home 5 Rhode Island Red chicks that were three weeks old. We kept them in our utility room, in a bucket with a window screen on top. That spring, we weaned them outside to a backyard coop and run.

Then came a heavy spring rain of 6 inches in a single day – flash flood warnings abounded. That night, I waded through our backyard to see if they were alive. The coop was above water, in the highest part of the yard. 

I could hear loud peeping. When I opened the coop, the chicks were peeping frantically on one side, and a young possum was sitting on the other side. The young possum had somehow found its way into the coop with our birds.

“What do we do?” I phoned a farm friend.

“Kill it. If you leave the possum in there, the possum will eat the chickens alive, from the butt to the front.” We had no cage or alternative, and no stores were open.

My family joined me as we tried to figure out how to get the possum out of the coop. We grabbed tools from the garage. Richard caught the young possum with the kids’ old butterfly net. As he was pulling it out of the coop, the possum escaped through a hole in the net and began racing around the flooded yard.  We splashed around the yard with our flashlights, trying to find it.

Billy Crystal in City Slickers had nothing on us when we caught that possum.

“Found it!” Richard yelled. It was under the rock on which he was standing. “I think it’s dead.”

“It’s not dead! It’s playing possum!” I hollered.

My daughter lugged an ax from the garage, saying, “Here, Dad.”

The possum didn’t bother us again.  We splashed around the coop and run, flashlights in hand, trying to fill gaps in the fencing with rocks to prevent another possum attack before daybreak.

We still have hens. And we’ve had lots of eggs. But no more possums.

Lesson? As our kids follow their interests, if we let them, they’ll take us on unforgettable family adventures. Some with good eggs.

3 Responses to “City Chicken Slicker Flood Adventures”

  1. Talina February 26, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Now, did you eat the possum? I couldn’t have killed it, maybe Nathan could have. My code says if you kill it it must go to use somehow. Possum hat? LOL.

    I hope to not have predator issues this spring and summer. Just just bought 3 Araucaua hens and are soon to be urban chicken owners too.


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