This is a really difficult post to write and even as I sit here, I’m intermittently sobbing.
This past weekend, my husband’s parents came down to help us finish building our chicken coop. We would have been at a complete loss without my father in law because he actually knows what he is doing when it comes to carpentry. He saved our bums in getting this coop built; thought of things we wouldn’t have, knew details we didn’t, etc. Anyway, between the two of them, my husband and his dad got everything but the roofing done. We were really excited to be able to move our chickens outside because they were getting way too big for their brooder.
So this morning, I started doing the animal feeding chores. I had tried to call the dogs in a couple times and my son tried to help, which really just means he startled them back outside. So when I finally got Sadie to come back to the house, I put her inside and set about cleaning he chicken’s waterer. I came inside to see she had gotten into the brooder area, and into the box with the chickens.
There were feathers flying, and I had to lift Sadie out of the box. The chickens she hadn’t caught with her mouth, she had squished and snapped their necks when she layed in the box. I got the dogs separate from the chickens, I had my son go back in the main house and I sobbed.
It was a disgusting waste of life. Those creatures, those lives I’m responsible for- gone. I called my mother-in-law weeping; I didn’t even know what to do. I just told her, “All the chickens are dead.” She consoled me best as she could and I collected myself to do what I had to do in disposing of the dead chickens.
As I was handling the chickens, there was a sudden flapping up from the dark corner of the room, and one single black cuckoo maran perched on the edge of the brooder! I nearly had a heart attack. The one chicken I was always annoyed by for it’s endeavors to escape the brooder survived Sadie’s attack. She must have flown out of the brooder and taken shelter in the corner of the room.
I caught her and checked her for puncture wounds and for broken bones. Aside from a few feathers loose, she looked fine. She was walking and moving normally.
I set up another Rubbermaid tub as her warm brooder and offered her food and water. She ate and drank normally and appears to be doing fine. Thank God!
I really just don’t even know what to do or think about any of it. The issue of a chicken killing dog has to be addressed. As much as I hate the thought, we can’t keep a dog that kills chickens, so Miss Sadie will probably have to find another home.
Could this situation have been avoided? Most likely. I should have checked that all the doors to the chicken area were secure. I should have put the dogs outside on leads. I should have had my son with me helping instead of where he could let the dogs in or out. We should have had the coop finished before now… I just keep going over everything and kicking myself for carelessness. First the bees, (which by God’s grace are still in the hive) and now 8 of my 9 specially selected flock of chickens are dead.
The farmer’s co-op is out of chicks for the year, and tractor supply only has a few left, and none are the breeds we had wanted. All the time and money we had invested into those chickens is gone.
I’m upset and emotionally raw. In my whole life, I’ve dealt with more animal death this year than I ever have. I know they were $2 birds, and that dog attacks can happen. I just wasn’t prepared for something like this. Life is so fragile.
For now I don’t know what our plan is, but praise God for the one chicken who survived; all is not totally lost.