Ahhh, The adventures that chickens bring to us, humans. Our 6 chickens sleep in my barely-mobile-tractor coop. Last night, with the nip in the air, I decided to try out the heating lamp (that I used when they were chicks). A few hours later, in the reddish glow, I see that one of the chickens is moving around. Movement in the middle of the night? I run out thinking, I've screwed up and chickens are way too hot. hahah. Naive me. As I ran closer, I noticed that chicken was looking a bit odd. Yup, my jaw dropped when the chicken morphed into a skunk. It had squeezed through the same tiny dug hole that I had blamed on a chipmunk earlier. Hmmm what to do? I could see through the hardware cloth screen that most of the gals were watching from above with their heads hung low. A couple of the hens had joined the 2 others in their higher-in-the-pecking-order roosting area, while the two remaining hens huddled in their laying boxes. My first attempt at battle, was screeching "Ah-ah-ah" while clapping trying "to scare it away." Hey, that technique works on dogs or cats. A few seconds of repeating this made the skunk turn slowly around, away from the feeder. Next strategy, I banged on the roof a couple more times to let it know I meant business. Then, I tried combining screeching, banging and clapping. If before this, any of the gals had not been aware of an intruder, they were now very well aware of both the 4-legged and 2-legged intruder in the middle of the night. It took me all of these several seconds to realize that uh, maybe I didn't want to actually scare the skunk.Yup, its tail was up but no spray yet. The skunk appeared to be trying to figure out what was going on. I backed away a few feet and kept quiet. Several, mostly illogical thoughts raced Nascar-like through my mind. How far can a skunk spray? Can it see me? Can it smell me? Can they aim strategically, zigzagging through different barriers? Spray ricochet? Can I dodge a spray? Do they spray chickens to get the eggs? Can chickens smell? Can you eat a sprayed egg? Would I know if an egg was sprayed? Do skunks mind eating sprayed eggs? Can they climb my chicken stairs? Will chickens fight to protect their eggs? Will rabid skunks eat eggs or chickens? Do I remember correctly that rabies only affects mammals? What would a rabid skunk act like? What was that rustling beyond the bushes? Do skunks work in teams? My silence helped the skunk make its move. It began to waddle its way toward the slightly-larger-than-a-chipmunk opening. I marveled at how it slipped so easily into the dug earth, avoiding all my carefully placed barriers. Its skill made me so aware of how the wild creatures are far better at this than I. After giving out a few more battle cries of Ah-Ah-Ah screeches, claps, and roof bangings to ensure the skunk was on its way, I barricaded the hole. For now, though I stood proud and triumphant at this one more adventure.