Food & Drink

Skunks in the pullet house, turkeys down the road

Our 16-by-8-foot pullet house is on 6-by-4-foot timbers and was built more than 20 years ago as a pastured sow shelter.

We modified the roof and added a wood floor for use as a brooder. By default this year, it became a pastured chicken shelter because we were short on shelters.

Last week, my farm helper, Charles Dunevant, and I were moving the shelter to new pasture. That involves moving water lines, cleaning the buckets and waterer, dragging the house on log chains and then filling up the range feeders.

We had moved the house and were on the front end, filling the feeders and reattaching the water lines. My wife, Jenifer, was walking across the garden and started yelling, “Skunks!”

Apparently, two young skunks and their mama had been living under the chicken house.

They ambled off, and that suited us.

Fowl, fowl, everywhere

Last Wednesday, Jenifer was taking our daughter, Ellie, to softball camp when she called and said Tom Turkey was up at the main road, a half mile away. I went to get him and brought him back home. We didn't even notice that our two roaming Naragansett turkey hens weren't around until my dad called around noon and said he seen them in a neighbor's yard almost a mile away.

We don't know what caused them to go up the road. It could have been a fox or coyote, but our No. 1 suspect is our 14-week-old lab mix puppy. Jenifer had let him out of the house early.

Late Sunday evening, a neighbor called and said the two hens were next door to him. Jen, the kids and I piled into the van and spent 30 fruitless minutes trying to catch the turkeys. They finally ended up roosting on the neighbor's roof.

Monday morning, Charles and I went looking for them and found them. We set up a V trap out of poultry netting in the neighbor's yard. The two hens promptly flew out of it and headed to the middle of a huge soybean field.

Apparently, they are doing fine.