Tuesday, 15 July 2008

And then there were five.

Today has not been the best of days.

It started at 5am when Lurcher No.1 needed to go out - this new diet she is on is playing havoc with the timing of her digestive transit, and havoc with my sleep patterns - as it was light I got up and pootled down the garden to let the chickens out.

Now, this is something we do every morning. At whatever time I surface, I pootle down the garden and Brodie comes with me to have his first daily constitutional. He peers in to the chicken run and then goes off to do his business. When I come out of the run, I open the back of the coop to check for eggs. And every morning, if there is a chicken still in there, Brodie stares transfixed.

Except for this morning. This morning he didn't stare. This morning he obviously sussed I was not fully alert and he made a grab for Dora. Before my brain could process what was happening, he had Dora by the tail feathers and was whooping down the garden swinging her through the air. I had the presence of mind to lock up the coop before the others came out and then hurtled down the garden after him screaming like a fishwife. He was at the back gate before he let her go and I was able to scoop her up but he still kept trying to grab her. Himself appeared wondering what all the noise was about and got the dogs in whilst I checked Dora over. Fortunately she didn't seem to be physically hurt. I put her back in the run and she toddled off, seemingly OK.

I checked on her half an hour later and she had died. More than likely from shock than from any physical injury.

I am so angry with myself. I know what Brodie can be like (you all will remember the neighbour's rabbit incident). I let my guard down for a second and one of my animals died because of it. It was an unnecessary death and unforgivable when these creatures rely on me for their safety and well-being.

And if my viperous anonymous commenter on those rabbit posts wants to say "pay back". Don't bother, I've already said it.

*If you are wondering about the title - I think I forgot to tell you that I homed another two ex-batts to add to my original four.


  1. So sorry about Dora - but these things do happen. We lost about 30 hens to Mr Fox when we forgot to shut them up one night - we were devastated.

  2. Oh dear ~poor Dora, but even though you may not have been fully alert you must not be too hard on yourself. It happens sometimes, and we all know how much you love your animals. So we will not be laying any blame at your doorstep~ instead we will just feel sad for you!

  3. Really, you're doing a great thing. You just can't change an animals nature. I'm sad about Dora, she was so much better off after she was rescued.

  4. I am so sorry...I know just how you feel..

  5. Oh, what a terrible thing. But at least she died quickly. Big dogs can move surprisingly fast. Don't beat yourself up. It's hard for different species to live side by side.

  6. Does that now mean you can home another ex-batt? Because that would make a nastysadthing in to a nastysadthingbuthelpinganotherbatt-thing

  7. I’m so sorry for the loss of Dora and the circumstances under which this occurred. I know you feel responsible but I hope you’ll be able to cut yourself some slack and release the feelings in some positive manner. My thoughts and prayers are with you today.
    Hugs and blessings,

  8. I'm so sorry Angela. Big hugs to you.

  9. in the old days - my folks would have tied the dead chicken around the dogs neck. Dad said after a few days of dead chicken, the dog rarely chased a live one again.

  10. The first Sunday that we had Tig, he brought my elder daughter's cockerel in for Sunday lunch! Marzi, the Cockerel from Hell was unharmed & totally unbowed by his experience. Tig had been an outside dog for his 7 1/2 years & wasn't properly house-trained, so the day I went to college I chained him up outside so he couldn't chase/catch the chickens. One morning I counted 2 chickens less, but thought no more of it as I had a class to get to. We had Tig in January, so by the time I'd got back from college it was dark, which was why it was the evening of the following day's class that I realized that we were definitely 2 cockerels short ~ Marzi the people-attacker & the fighting Sine Nomine who was forever stalking my cockerel & attacking him. Both cockerels were bem's & she found Sine's body, but we never found Marzi. Dog was chained on a fairly short chain (he could move around, had the woodshed & garden shed for shelter, but couldn't reach a lot of the garden, why, oh why had 2 cockerels disappeared ~ did they both attack him? I know that a friend of a friend had offered on numerous occasions to take out Marzi for me & Sine looked like his dad. Did Tig do the deed for which he was blamed, or was it the 2-legged fox? My garden had a 6' high wall around it, a working repair garage next door & no 4-legged foxes present. We never found out the story: bem went vegetarian, Tig was chastised every time he so much as looked at a chicken & by the time we left that house, Tig could be trusted with the poultry. The hens would peck him if he sniffed them & he became frightened of my Cochins.

    Tashka & Piri never learnt, so I try to keep Piri inside all the time that the hens are out (Tashka was stolen). I've heard about tying a dead chicken around a dog's neck & it putting them off the idea of chicken chasing & would do it to Piri IF she were not a house dog (I don't fancy sharing my bed with a dog & dead chicken!) ~ once I get the dog run fenced I'll try it...

    I think the worst thing was when I've inadvertently killed chickens ~ I opened the roof to a house, looking for eggs, then dropped it at the same time as a hen was flying out & I trod on a hen whilst carrying feed ~ the whole flock was swarming round my legs & I didn't see her. That made me feel far more guilty than not catching Piri in time ~ she has her nature, mine is to NOT harm my animals.

    You're not the only dog-loving chicken-keeper to have lost well-loved birds that regard you as their goddess through a slip up with a dog. Doesn't ever make you feel better, though, & I hate losing any of my stock regardless of cause of death ~ I always feel that I've failed them somehow

    (Sorry that this is so long)


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