always the favorite

msmitoagainDecember 23, 2008

I pulled in the driveway last night to see my husband coming down the driveway. His face was furious and in one hand by the scruff of the neck he had one of the strays that had adopted us. I knew immediately what happened because the dog's mouth was crammed full of feathers.

He ran up a 6 foot fence and over into the chicken pen. By the time my husband got there from the barn, which was in just the matter of a couple of minutes. He killed 2 of the hens. One was my favorite little Bantam named Jet. And he killed one of the 4 Ameraucana's. We just called them the A Team. He badly wounded 2 others (a white leghorn and another Ameraucana) and was in the process of trying to wipe out the rest of them. We know he would have killed all 10 of them given a few more minutes. You could easily stuff a large pillow with all the feathers.

We called a friend of ours who graduated from MS State University in Poultry Science to see what to do for the wounded hens.

The dog was carried to an animal shelter this morning. And, to be honest, he was extremely lucky to get there.

My husband buried the 2 hens. And I didn't have to ask him to do it. He said he was going to put them next to my gelding that we lost in Oct.

We are both still bummed out. It's our first chicken loss and I hope the last one of that kind. Our friend told us that we stand a good chance of losing the ones that were attacked.


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Yes that was a lucky dog! So sorry for your loss. Keep the faith, not all stray dogs are like that. Sending you strong vibes for for chickens to bounce back to health!


    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 1:12PM
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Ramona, so sorry to hear about your chickens. Also sorry that the dog didn't work out, it was nice of you to take him in in the first place. Maybe the wounded chickens will survive, my rooster survived being carted off to the neighbor dog's house. He looked pretty beat up but you would never know anything had happened to him now. Keep us updated on them. Lori

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 9:04PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Oh that's a shame, I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

However, it seems to me that it is a rare dog that can scale a 6 foot fence, I think you should do a sweep to look for other weaknesses that he might have exploited unless your husband saw him do it.

I really hope your others live.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 11:00PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Sorry you lost your birds, it DOES seem like it's always your favorite. :(

You can do quite a few things to help the injured birds survive. Basic emergency care and supportive therapy I've listed here on my chickens site:

Keep them warm and quiet to guard against shock, and give them unflavored Pedialyte (at the grocery store in the baby aisle) to drink to help boost electrolytes. You can get some over the counter bird antibiotics at the pet store, look in the bird/reptile section for Ornacyn, a tetracycline-based antibiotic you can mix with water or Pedialyte. Keep the wounds clean and you can use Neosporin on them in small amounts--try to apply it thin enough to avoid soiling the feathers and those chilling the bird, and so the bird can't preen it off and ingest too much. In addition to their regular feed, give them assorted high-protein goodies to eat such as scrambled eggs, cooked ground beef and live mealworms to help give their bodies extra fuel to grow new tissue and keep them eating. The first few days are the hardest, if they can get past the initial shock of the attack and start healing, chances are they'll pull through. You'll have to isolate them from the rest of the flock until they are healed, since chickens will peck at anothers' wounds constantly.

Shagbark bantams has a GREAT site here, with a list of articles. Read the ones on 'Cell Migration' (how to heal torn or missing skin) and 'Supportive Therapy' to help your birds:

I've heard many stories of dogs running up and over wire fences to get at chickens, or just plain blasting through them and knocking them down. They can be VERY determined, surprisingly so. Don't beat yourself up, consider it a learning experience. Everyone who keeps chickens as lost birds to various causes--dogs, other predators, dumb accidents, mistakes, things you know you should have somehow known to avoid. We've all had it happen sooner or later.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 12:47AM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

So sorry for your loss, what a terrible thing to happen. We too had a break in last year. A fishercat broke into our coop at night stealing one of my favorite dark laying marans. I thought our coop was secure but now we have a deadbolt on the coop door just to make sure. Like Velvet says, it's happened to us all in one way or another, you are in sympathetic company.

Take care,

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 10:04AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

A great horned owl swooped down around 7 in the morning on our RIR hen when I was young, he was huge but not big enough to take her away, se he took about half of a breast.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 3:43PM
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That's horrible! You must be so devestated! I certainly would be. They dog was lucky to make it to the pound alright!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 6:46AM
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Hey everybody, thank you for listening.

Brendan - he definately went over the fence. We put the hens up and locked them in their coop. Since it was one of the rare days in MS when the temp dropped in the 20's. I told him to put him back in his dog pen and take him to the rescue league in the AM. He wanted to leave him in a wire carrier all night in the back of his truck. The first thing he did was to make his way back to the hen pen and scale their fence. Hubby then wanted to put a 22 in his head, but I told him we were not going to do that. He had proven he would kill and he had to go. But we were not going to resort to inhumane tactics in the process.

Velvet, thanks for all the advice. She's seems to be doing okay. We take her out of the coop every morning and put her into the green house. At evening when the other hens have nested, we put her back in the coop in one of the nesting boxes. Otherwise she frets a lot, cause she can hear them. This seems to be working out fine for now. She has been eating pretty good, but I will bump up her protein. I doubt that she will ever lay an egg again. There is just too much damage.

The white hen "fat chick" that was injured is doing okay too. Her wounds were not as bad and her wings cover them up.

Needless to say egg production is down to 1 or 2 eggs a day. It was around 6 to 7 a day. I'm just glad that no more of them were killed.

Thanks again everybody.


Here is a link that might be useful: my blog

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 9:49AM
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