It was our fault, as owners, that the chickens got into the dog partition of the primary pen. I had seen the chickens hanging out on the roof of the pup’s shade awning, and assumed they would fly over into the chicken side come evening, like they usually do. Wrong. Dead wrong.
Spouse and I went out for supper, and when we came back, checked on all the critters per usual. Saw only one grown chicken sleeping in the coop (Nutmeg). Umm, eh? Shined the flashlight on the cedars, no big chickens roosting there. Looked around the pen, and saw two chickens in a sleep fugue on the hay bales in the pup partition. Ruh-roh.
Grabbed Hausfrau #2, and moved her to the coop. Went to move Cinnamon, and noticed that her feathers appeared to have been gnawed a bit, and had a slobbered look to them. Her wings and legs checked out okay, so moved her gently to the coop as well, hoping that there was no internal damage. Wait, where’s Hausfrau #1?
Poor baby. What remained of her was in the doghouse. She wasn’t eaten, just probably “played with” to death.
You don’t correct pups or dogs after-the-fact, as it just confuses them, and it’s cruel. But I was FURIOUS. I slammed my fist into the doghouse roof and let loose a string of invectives that would have made my dead Marine Corps daddy proud. If the pups were oblivious before then, they were aware that "something was wrong" now.
I picked up the dead chicken by the foot, fished the other leg out of the doghouse, and put both pieces atop the compost pile to await burial the next morning. Spouse walked the pups to the secondary pen and set them there for the night, so they couldn’t continue to snuffle or search for any remaining chicken parts I may have missed. While they remained waiting in the secondary pen the next morning, I cleaned out all the hay in the doghouse, and searched the pen for any remaining chicken gore. The pups snuffled around a bit when I put them back into their primary pen, but I made damn sure there were no leftovers to be had.
Oddly enough, chicken training has gained a greater clarity for both pups since then. Bandit was always pretty good with the chickens, but Maggie had an intense curiosity for those bouncy feathered things, and would need several take-downs to become submissive. Now, she’s very meek and mild around the girls. Hmph. Training will continue every day, as it did in the past, regardless. Alpha dog - me - is NOT amused, and I can call up the patience and determination of Job once I’m on a tear.
The three remaining* first-gen chickens seem to have created an even tighter bond with each other - I’m guessing along the lines of “We Survived Hell Hound Night 2008”. Maybe I should print them some t-shirts.
*the roos were picked up on Saturday, and the next-gen chickens were integrated with the big chickens on Sunday. More on them, later.
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