Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Hate Stray Dogs!

Especially when they senselessly kill all thirty-one of my chickens within a manner of an hour or so.

Two small dogs showed up on the other side of our hill yesterday evening. We shooed them away and thought that was the end of it. It never occurred to me to think of the chickens.

Last night we made a bonfire on the hill. Ford, Annalise, Luke and I decided to try sleeping out under the stars by the fire. At about three o'clock when my little dog was out barking and keeping me awake, I stumbled back down to the house and put her in. As I settled back down up on the hill, Ford was tossing and turning and complaining about getting bit by ants. Then I heard the roosters start crowing and I knew we would not be able to sleep. So we decided to head back to the house. We woke Annalise up and took her in with us and left Luke sleeping. That was 3am. All was well.

At 7:00 Luke knocks on our bedroom door. He comes in wide-eyed to tell us that those stray dogs woke him up licking him in the face. He headed to the house and saw nine chickens dead in the field. He was clearly upset. We got up to apprehend the dogs while they were still there. Luke headed out with a garbage bag to collect the dead bodies and found even more dead in the hen house. In fact, every single chicken was dead.

The dogs had been on a major killing spree. I could understand one or two eaten chickens. But thirty-one just killed and left there?

It must have happened after sunrise because the nine chickens would not have run out into the field in the dark. I don't understand how Luke did not hear the ruckus since he was sleeping so close by.

I am so mad and I just feel sick about it. We were so excited to have raised some of the chicks ourselves. A few days ago, one hatched and we put it inside in the chick box. It's all we have left now. The yard is so quiet. Devoid of (poultry) life. It's way too quiet.

Now I am going to have to order new chicks. And we need a new habit of locking them in the hen house at night. We may be in the market for a new Great Pyrenees pup. And this time we are going to train him to protect the chickens. Pal is getting old. He normally would never have allowed stray dogs to be on our property.


MamaO said...

I'm right there with you. I am ruthless about stray dogs. This happened to our flock one Valentine's day. We called it "The Valentine's Day Massacre." The only chicken left alive was the hen that was "setting" a nest. We named her "Freida" which means "brave." Just makes you sick.

But, now I know with whom I can share my eggs! I've been getting about 14 a day, and there's no way we can eat that many. So, do you have any aversion to blue Aracauna eggs?

The Cowgirl said...

O man!! that is horrible!

Kaleesha said...

I hear ya! When we first planned to get chickens and started building the coop, my neighbors suggested I build a "Fort Knox" replica because of all the wild animals and strays around. They gave up trying to keep chickens. But I tell ya, that Great Pyr mix we've got keeps just about everything away. We've lost no chickens since we got them last spring (though we only just started letting them free-range this week) and we've lost two guineas to predators (we've lost more to highway traffic). We almost parted with the dog when we first moved here... he was a little TOO protective and was becoming a nuisance. He got hit by a car and broke a hind leg. We didn't take him to a vet but just nursed him for awhile. We were certain he would never use the leg again but two months later he was putting weight on it and a month after that you couldn't even tell he'd been injured. The best part is it was enough to mellow him out. Now I don't know what we'd do without him.
My favorite tale I like to tell on him is the time a steak salesman pulled in the drive. Murphy circled the truck barking and the guy cracked his window and yelled, "Does he bite?" I hollered back from my garden, "Only salesmen and Jehovah's Witnesses!" He looked at the dog, looked at me, saw I wasn't going to call him off and whined, "Well that ain't fair!" Laughing I said, "Really? It works out great for us!" And he left.
A good farm dog is worth his weight in gold.