Not Dead Yet

By | March 26, 2011

Andrew and the chicks

We used to have 35 free range chickens. They were friendly pets who happened to provide eggs. We named them, cuddled them, carried them around, and, in general, loved them.

Fox caught in the hen house fence. Yes, we freed him--we're that kind of crazy.

We tried to coop them at night to protect them, but our happy chickens preferred sleeping in trees. We live on a farm, so, over time, the fox, neighbor cats and dogs, weasels, and other predators taught us lots of lessons on the circle of life.

Next thing we knew, we only had one chicken left…

Lonely Chicken

Buffy was lonely in the coop by herself, so she moved in with the sheep. When the sheep free range, so does she:

The sheep shed is at the top of our driveway and the first thing we see when we drive in. Every day we expected to find feathers and be a chicken-less farm. Instead, every day there was Buffy, riding around on a sheep’s back, and the boys would exclaim: “Hey, she’s not dead yet!”

Beautiful Buffy was renamed Not Dead Yet. When the 35 new chicks join her this spring, we may have to change her name back to Buffy.


Judy Workman on March 26, 2011 at 8:22 am.

I am glad you are getting more chickens. Buffy can have her own little herd of chicks to frolic with.

I have been reading a couple books lately, one was called “Coop” and one was called “See you in a hundred years”. Both have to do with attempts at having animals at home/urban homesteading and both authors had chicken problems like yours. They must look tasty to every living thing.


Hats for Hunger on March 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm.

If you are looking for another animal book Judy, “Enslaved by Ducks” is a good giggle!


Kristin on March 26, 2011 at 9:23 am.

I used to have a flock of guineas and chickens years ago. We also had Great Pyrenees dogs, so the birds that hung out near them all did well. The ones that wandered out of the dogs protection-not so much. Those dogs would guard everything we fed, even critters we were not feeding on purpose. The cats could not get near the pesky grackle birds and squirrels that came to eat the dog food and chicken feed in our yard. I miss my little farm. Hoping someday I will have another, with sheep and birds and Great Pyrenees to protect them all.

Good luck with your new chickens. I love your sheep!


Hats for Hunger on March 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm.

Our Golden Retriever protects the chickens too. The small dogs, however, think that chasing any and all animals is the!


Sarah on March 26, 2011 at 10:04 am.

I’m betting the reason she’s “not dead yet” is she was always hanging around large mammals. Especially when riding on them. Much harder to isolate and attack that way!


Hats for Hunger on March 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm.

Mr. Pig, the sheep who thinks he’s a dog, rams anyone/anything that threatens Not Dead Yet. We’re starting to say that he is the ram who thinks he’s the chickens mother. :-)


Jayne Bisby on July 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm.

I found your blog by accident while looking for more charities to knit for (I knit teddies for children caught up in wars and disasters and for Save the children, and our local SCBU). I love your idea of hats for hunger so will definitely enjoy knitting and sending you some too.
Regarding your chickens being killed? Hubby and I learnt the hard way about foxes killing our critters in our case rescued baby peacocks and Xbattery hens. The local farmer told us we should have created a pen which went underground for at least four feet. This he said would have stopped all but the most persistent fox from digging under our netting. Maybe you’ve done that already? but if not, this is what we did. He showed us how to dig down 3 feet (36 inches) into the ground and then bend the wire netting so that it was an L shape with a foot (12 inches) at an angle bending outwards flat with the soil away then back fill it all with soil till level with the ground again, firming it down well and laying rocks to make sure it couldnt be pulled out. This worked. The foxes and badgers tried and failed to dig under the coop and they were very persistent, but not for long!!. I would love to hear how you get on when you get your new chickens. Please do consider writing a series of books about your life on the farm, As I for one would certainly buy them and wholeheartedly recommend them to others x


Hats for Hunger on July 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm.

Thank you so much for your kind comments! We would love to write a series of books. That may be our next project…

As for our chickens, we do have a pen that we refer to as “Fort Knox.” It is predator proof. Our problem is letting the chickens free range. They like our trees so much that they prefer to sleep there. :-) Getting them back into the coop is challenging. The latest batch of chicks hasn’t had any predator problems, but they have been dying. We think it is because of parasites, so, for the first time (we raise everything organically), we are giving them worming medicine.

Thank you again!


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