Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Real Live Murder Story (and a really cute puppy)

My oldest daughter and Goldie, her favorite chicken. And the dog house the dog refuses to sleep in.

Goldie's neck feathers never came back after the last raccoon attack. She had also taken to roosting on top of my kitchen window box, her scratchy chicken feet letting me know when evening had arrived long before the sun began to set.

She was the lone survivor of our family's four years of urban chicken farming, and I lovingly referred to her as our little PTSD chicken, which I don't think was far from the truth. After all, she survived the hawk massacre of 2011 and the Raccoon slaughter of 2012.

I had heard that ducks were kind of bruisers, and I wanted a pond, so we got ducks to keep our Goldie company. But one day we found a duck head in the yard, with no body anywhere in sight. Then, another duck was replaced by a very bad smell coming from under the deck.

But not Goldie. Our girl had survived again. As had Splashling who began to spend the days sleeping on the back deck by the sliding glass door. They were weirdos, but they were our weirdos.

Then...one day shortly before this Thanksgiving, our sweet neighbor looked at me over the fence with sad, sad eyes. I knew what that meant. You don't go through 15 chickens and two ducks without learning how to read the signs. Linda had noticed another bird lying listless in the yard. Most likely without it's head.

Why she never found our dead birds while my husband was home to take care of them is the real mystery...

This time the raccoon had wrenched one wall off of their house, crawled inside, and killed them.

Obviously, I was seeing red. After scouring the internet for our local rules, I learned that the only thing you are allowed to do if raccoons kill your suburban poultry is "remove the food." That's right, in my town, raccoons are citizens with rights and chickens are food. (I mean, of course, chickens are food, but sometimes they are pets as well.)

Speaking of pets, I now had a dilemma. You see, while the kids understand the circle of life (thank you, Simba) the dog doesn't really. Once I found him wandering around the yard munching the blue, lifeless leg of one of his old arucana buddies which he had dug up from the chicken graveyard.

He didn't know where the Goldie and Splashling had gone, or why.

He just knew he was lonely.

And my kids were lonely.

And so was I.

But you know what helps cure loneliness?


That's Archie. We adopted him today. His owner passed away and he needed a new home. And WE needed a new buddy for our dog Watson, and a new buddy for our girl Norah who lost her Goldie. And a new reason for mommy to itch and sneeze!

I think once I get this year's insurance sorted out I will have to go do that allergy shots thing that makes your allergies go away entirely. But that's another blog for another day!

Happy New Year from the Hilton home!


  1. Straight out of Stephen King but with a happier ending. I'd go for the allergy shots and forget the feathered varieties!

  2. I CANNOT wait for my health insurance to be sorted out. Our family is a victim of the change and the kids and I can't go to the doc for a little while because it was too complicated to dump my husband from our family plan when his new job provided a plan for him...which means instead of just rolling into the new plan we had to drop the old one and apply for a new one and now we are in the no mans land, just waiting. OTHERWISE, lol, I'd be at the allergist TODAY! :D

  3. Love the story of your adventure with chicken farming. I'm sorry you lost so many pets. I'm glad you have a new friend to become part of the family now.

  4. Thanks, Deb! I'm surprised at how much I miss those little ladies! While they were with us they didn't seem to add much to family life--they are just chickens, after all. But they did leave a hole when they were gone!

  5. Archie looks like a teddy bear. Enjoy that cuddly buddy.

    It sounds like urban chicken farming involves a tremendous amount of drama. Maybe you should write a children's book where the hens outfox the raccoon, in your spare time, of course. (haha).

  6. You know, that's a really good idea! And it would be a fun project to involve my girls in. :)


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