I’ll start this post
by jumping right to the punch line and telling you how I —
nature girl, friend of all things that creep, crawl, and slither
— threw my shoe at a perfectly harmless black rat snake.
It was a cute snake too, didn’t startle me in the least, but my
intent was to cause harm…or at least to get that reptile out of
Remember how I told
you that our
broody hen lost one of her chicks a few days after they hatched?
I heard a ruckus, ran into the barn, and found our eight-chick
flock down to seven.
Well, I was hanging
out with the broody hen and her chicks a few days later, when she
started acting oddly. Mama Hen called all her chicks to her
side and backed away from the wall, her feathers puffing up.
Then in crawled a black rat snake, making a beeline for those
I knew at once that
this snake had been the murderer of chick number eight, and I was
bound and determined not to let it happen again on my watch.
I couldn’t actually walk toward the snake because it was on the
other side of the hen, and I was afraid that if I made any sudden
moves, the hen would figure the snake was the least of her worries
and lead her chicks into harm’s way. So off came my shoe.
The footware landed
directly on the snake’s head, but, unfortunately, it was really
just a slipper and barely phased the chick-hunter. He did
try to strike the shoe, though, which pushed Mama Hen over the
edge from defensive to offensive. She flew at the snake, and
the snake hit the road.
I’d like to say the
episode talked me into moving our smallest flock to a more secure
location, but it didn’t. The dangers of trying to gather up
seven chicks in a cluttered barn without losing any seemed to
outweigh the benefits of the move, so I left them alone, and Mama
Hen does seem to have been fending off all future snake
attacks. I wonder if the predator that used to pick off our
chicks before we secured their brooder was actually a snake, not a
waterers keeps our hen and her seven remaining chicks
happy for several days with no effort on my part.