Thursday, August 11, 2005

Demeter's New House

After the latest sad occurance at the chicken house, it became all too clear that whatever was killing the chickens was not to be stopped. I wish I had reached that conclusion earlier, rather than trying to placate the predator with food of it's own. My inexperience has cost the lives of too many birds. I suppose it would be incomprehensible to some that I would feel so bad about an animal that is slaughtered every day by the millions to provide food, but looking at any animal up close reveals how closely related we all are. The chickens are life forms different from us, but neither inferior or superior. My chickens and I were friends as far as the communication between species allowed us to be. They came when I called to them, talking to me when I spoke to them, running to meet me to see what I had for them to eat. They came to trust me, standing on my feet and jumping up on my hands when I knelt down to their level. I knew their different personalities, recognized their individual preferences and habits. I loved watching them and interacting with them. In my ignorance of how to protect them, I let them down. It is a most overwhelming curse of being human to feel responsible for other living things. To have such power, even if it is only an illusion, is to be ridden with guilt and regret.

So, I had to go on, as we always do, and do my best from what wreckage I had to work with. I knew I couldn't leave Demeter in that house one more night. It is obviously too easy to invade, even though I can't figure out how. So I set out to fix up the little building over at the new house as a chicken fortress. I stapled hardware cloth over all the windows, plugged up the one small hole in the back, and spread the floor with fresh sawdust. With the help of the friend of JP who was emptying his stuff out of JP's garage, I moved the nesting box over there and set it up on the floor. I couldn't get it up off the ground since I had to remove the legs to get it in, but I'll put them back on it tomorrow. I set out the food and water, then returned home to get Demeter. Incredibly, she was gone.

I can't describe my feelings at that moment. Suffice it to say I was a beaten woman. I wandered around, half-heartedly calling and calling, expecting nothing. It seemed that I was going through the motions of trying to find her only to appease the gods who would be expecting me to make the attempt. Who knows what they would do if I just gave up? After what I copnsidered an appropriate length of time, I went back inside. A short time later, unable to believe the truth of the matter, I went out to look again. And there was Demeter, sitting high up on the chicken house wall.

It was almost dark by the time I placed Demeter in her new home. She made a lot of noise as she strutted out of the pillow case I had carried her in, sounding almost like a rooster. No doubt she was unable to take any of it in.........her family murdered, her house destroyed, being grabbed and imprisoned inside a cloth bag and taken away..........then to emerge into a totally new environment cleaner and fresher than any she had ever seen. I left her standing on the roof of the nesting box, still clucking with what I interpreted as surprise and bewilderment.

Before I left for Bangor this morning, I went by to check on her. She was still alive and unmolested, which was everything I could have wished for.


David said...

I have been so worried about you and you are coping so very well - I mean really well.

We love you ! D.....

brina said...

I was worried after your last post, too. Almost called but thought you might just prefer being left alone for a day or so. Can't blame yourself so much, it's hard to keep predators out. I find it hard to imagine there are coyotes on Eastport, but even similar animals (foxes? maybe even someone else's dog?) are pretty much impossible to deter. The new coop sounds nice! I'm sure Demeter likes it :)

A said...

After her previous close encounter with disaster, I'm very glad to hear Demeter is well!

Jesse said...

It's always amazing how small a space is needed for predators to get in. I'm glad you could setup the new house for Demeter so quickly. Hopefully it will be the end of the problem.