No, this has not become a chicken blog, but I must tell you about the most crappy thing that happened yesterday with my chickens…
While sitting at my kitchen counter punching out a blog post about stocking stuffers (to come next week btw) I heard a most horrific sound coming from the barnyard. I thought it was the goats bleating. They sounded in distress, majorly. My yellow lab, Bailey, ran out the doggie door to see what was happening. Agh! I threw on boots of some sort and raced outside too. A coyote? A bear? I had no idea but something was in there with my animals!
Sure enough, the big neighborhood dog, Dusty, had jumped the six-foot fence and had my molting chicken in his mouth.
I ran into the goat pen to be sure my two goats were okay (thank god they were!). But of course, they were freaking out in the closet of their pen while the f-ing dog was running around the snowy yard tearing up my chicken. Oh, Dusty!! Damn it!
I tried getting him out of the barnyard but the freaking gates were all frozen shut and locked. The only way to get him out was to use he-woman force on the locks which somehow I managed to do. “Git OUTTA HERE!” (yep I said GIT just like that: “GIIIIT!”) He ran out to play with Bailey, grrr.
So, sad part number one: the molting chicken I spoke of JUST YESTERDAY was killed! Sad part number two: Dusty’s mom is one of the sweetest neighbors I know and I had to call her and tell her what her dog had done. She was heartbroken and flew over to our house with her six-year old-ish daughter in tow. My neighbor was sobbing and I had to comfort her.
Once she left with her dog, I went into the closet in the goat pen and our remaining Wyandotte was huddled into a corner most likely in shock and still quite terrified and confused. I really feel so sad for the chicken who was killed. I was trying so hard to care for her. She was a mess and scared as it was by having been targeted and pecked by her sisters and then suddenly this lunatic dog jumps in, chases and kills her. God, I just. I just hate this.
Today, my remaining three chickens are holed up INSIDE their coop, which is something they never do except when we have mass amounts of snow and they physically cannot get out. I peeked in on them and requested that they come out but I truly believe they are distressed by yesterday’s events.
Last year I gave my dad the book The Inner Life of Animals: Love, Grief, and Compassion – Surprising Observations of a Hidden World for Christmas. I want to get my hands on that book now. My dad (a writerly/bookish type like me) said it’s quite good (and plus it sold like crazy at our bookstore). I wish I could read it tonight, so much has this death affected me. Yes, I’ve lost other chickens and other animals in my lifetime. But something about the way this went down really shook me up and I’ve since been thinking and overthinking how awful the whole stupid experience must have been for them.
Nothing has ever gotten into their barnyard, I pride myself on this because we have a family of coyotes that live just beyond our barnyard in the rocks in the meadow and they have never gotten in (knock on wood of course!). I even watched a bear once on two hind legs leaning on the fence looking in at the animals at a loss and he/she wandered away. So, of all things to actually get into the yard! A really tall neighborhood dog, not a malicious guy at all – just a family dog with really long legs who probably only wanted to “play” with the chicken that wound up dead in his mouth.
Ah, good lord. I sometimes wonder if owning animals is worth the heartache involved.