If you are squeamish about animals and their wicked ways, don’t read any further. When you own chickens out in the country, you are continually trying to protect them from predators. You build a safe and snug chicken house with a cover over their run to prevent loss from eagles and hawks. Your bury chicken wire and other things beneath to stop burrowing animals.
What I’d forgotten was how two determined dogs can turn a morning into a nightmare.
I’ve been watching my mother’s dog for the last couple of months. He is a terror, and my dislike for him borders on being murderous. He digs up the gardens which aren’t fenced. He drags things out of the garage into the yard and causes a mess. Worst for him, he reminds me of my former stepfather whom I loathe. For a tiny bit of background, Tom divorced my mother when she was at her sickest. They say people pick dogs like themselves, and here, the truism fits. He is a very bad dog (VBD).
Add to this one Labrador puppy which we brought home a few weeks before my mother’s surgery, and the babysitting of her dog. He is one bad puppy (OBP) and Neville’s partner in crime.
So, with a mug of tea beside me, I was working on some writing this morning when I heard a bird making distress calls outside my back door. I thought it was a goose because they abound here, and it sounded like one. Plus, I checked on the chickens this morning, and they were safe, laying eggs and enjoying their day-after-Thanksgiving feast.
After a couple of minutes the sound didn’t abate, so I ran outside, and to my horror, Tap was after one of my Barred Rocks. Feathers were flying, and he was happy as a OBP could be. I grabbed Tap around the collar and held him. The chicken took off up the drain pipe of the garage (which is just wide enough for a hen). Thinking she was safe, I yelled for Bill and ran up the hill to the barn where the chicken house is. That’s where I found Neville and another Barred Rock hen upside down with her legs in the air. She appeared dead, but as soon as I shooed away the dog and and grabbed her up to my chest, one eye popped open and viewed me warily.
I know they’re just chickens, but I nearly began to cry. However, there was no time because chickens were out and about, and we needed to get them back to safety. I checked her over pulling leaves away and held her while Bill and I rounded up the others.
When chickens are chased by wild animals, they go into shock and stay that way awhile. I put her in the pen away from the other chickens so that she could recover. We got everyone inside, but the doors were all secure. Finally, we found the hole where the two awful dogs launched themselves through the chicken wire pulling it away from the boards. Chicken wire is tough stuff, but a determined VBD with a OBP can rip it away from the posts. I think they were actually after the Thanksgiving leftovers, but once they discovered how fun it was to chase chickens, they went after them.
Meanwhile, the other hen was in the pipe, and Tap crawled up the pipe after her. I’m not sure how he made himself that small. I called him out, put him indoors with my son while Bill and I tried to discover (a) if then hen was dead; and (b) how to get her out.
The pipe is too long for two rakes taped together end to end. We spent an hour working on it, and we were sure she was dead, but suddenly, she started to cluck and walk slowly to the end of the pipe.
Chickens are tough stuff too.
I can’t express how relieved I am that she is fine. However, she won’t come out so we’ve rigged up a dog carrier for her to walk into, and put the grate back over the other end.
I hope she comes out this afternoon.
Now, I must check on my other girl. Later.