Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sad Day

This morning, two dogs came into my yard and killed one of my chickens. Actually, I had to kill her after she was maimed so badly, there was no hope.

I heard dogs barking and ran outside to see what was going on. Normally, you don't hear dogs barking as my house is too far from neighbors. The dogs were barking at the baby chickens in the tractor and ran off when I yelled at them. One disappeared and the other came back all submissive, like she knew she was a bad, bad dog. She had a harness on her, so I know she was a pet. I kept yelling at the dog and frantically looking around for the big chickens. I had seen one of them down by the firepit when I came out, but did not see any then. That is when I saw the reddish brown lump across the yard. Running over to it, my heart and stomach sank when I saw the bloody feathery mess. Then I saw her breathing, but that made it worse, not better, as there was no saving this chicky. She had her eyes closed and was totally unresponsive. I knew I was going to have to put her out of her misery. Let's just say my ax was sharp enough and chickens really do flop around after you chop their heads off.

The girls came out and we looked for the other chickens. One was found easily, but the other took us a while to find. She was hiding down in the tall grass by the swampy pond. She stayed hunkered down right up until I was a foot away from her, then she got up and followed me up to the yard. I guess she was still pretty freaked out. They are both doing ok after their scary morning.

Henrietta was placed in the compost, to nourish us through future plants in the garden. I guess us humans are just not scavengers, as I cannot stomach eating an animal I did not kill. Ok, I eat animals other humans kill, just not ones that other animals kill. (Update to address Sandra's comment: I did choose the moment of death for the chicken, but I did not choose that her death should occur that day. The dogs made sure of that. I think the distinction is key.)

Tending livestock is a risky venture, I am discovering, and incidents like today's are so frustrating. It is one thing to lose a crop of tomatoes to late blight, as we did last summer, and a whole 'nother to lose an animal you raised from infancy. So sad.

In more positive news, I got a majority of the framing on the run for the coop done today. Not too much longer and the chickens will have a nice tight safe place to spend times that we cannot watch them closely. Too late for Henrietta, but such is life.

Rest in peace, sweet girl.


Stephanie said...


Annette said...

oh, that is sad.

Diana said...

I'm sorry:-( It really bothers me that dogs run free through others yards...I have been threatend before more than once by someones un atteneded pet.

Miranda said...

Thanks guys!

Diana, I hear you about the dogs. If they come back, I am going to catch them, tie them up and call animal control. It bothers me that I don't even know who to complain to!

Sandra Dodd said...

If you can't catch them next time, photograph them. You can have action taken against the neighbors (and maybe be compensated for the chicken) by showing the pictures around as you might a lost dog, or by showing the photos to animal control, too.

As to eating... you did, technically, kill that chicken, but now that's been in the compost... too late for long-distance lawyering.

And where I grew up, dogs got shot for chasing anyone's livestock. Just shot. Dogs didn't last so long in rural areas as they do it town. They were just doing what dogs do if they get a chance to do it.

I'm sorry for your sudden panic and sorrow and loss.

Anonymous said...

Mollie teared up as she told me this story. Reading it today, it makes me sad. I'm sorry. You're a strong girl.

Flo said...

So sorry.

Helewes said...

She was beautiful. I'm a dog owner...I get so peeved about owners thinking it's ok to just let their dogs run free. Most states have leash laws. Unless you have a fenced I do...that means by law, they have to be leashed. I have two small dogs...we've been attacked twice by other dogs off leash. Ozzie my little male, has suffered foilables and fears every since. I'm so sorry that you lost your sweet hen. I really like your blog.