Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fowl Play

Instinctively dogs, will sometimes kill chickens. Usually, it starts out as play, and in an unguarded instant you may have a chicken killer on your hands.

Kirby has put his luck to the test. He “played” with Nibblers, our family pet Banty chicken

Sunday was a particularly rough day for #2 child… the boy she is interested in was returning her texts… she dropped her cell phone in a bucket of water… she thought she ruined a friend’s piece of expensive equipment… and the day was topped by the discovery of a chicken playing dead on my bedroom floor and a guilt ridden puppy slinking in the background.

At first glance, I thought the chicken was dead. She was laid out, spread eagle on her back on the bedroom floor. All the girls were screeching.

I touched Nibblers foot. No movement.

I carefully turned her over. Sudden movement in her wings. She’s alive!

I cautiously picked her up and began to examine her legs, wings and body. I found bite marks around her ear and neck. I really couldn’t understand how I wasn’t holding a dead chicken.

Nibblers held very still and only fluttered her eyes every once in a while.

As I put her in a box in the bathtub for the night I was thinking of how I was going to handle the morning when I had to tell #5 child that her favorite pet had died during the night.

The next day the chicken was up and around. We kept her in the bathtub for the rest of the day, just in case. By the evening, Nibblers had joined the flock in the chicken coop.

Now we deal with the dog.

He is still a puppy… and a slow learner. We just can’t force him to understand that bothering the chickens in any way, is a big "No."

He does want to please me. He just has a short memory. The problem is that he is overly excited, much like a toddler when he/she first discovers a new toy. Chickens are so fun! Like the teddy bears he “kills” on a daily basis.

The chickens don’t see the “fun.” They fear getting eaten by the dog (no matter how small).

The real problem is “supervision.” John had let the chickens out to scratch in the yard AND had left the door open for the dogs roam in the back yard.

Lesson for the day… NEVER let a dog, especially a pup -- play with a chicken, chase poultry, or charge at poultry. Sooner or later, you'll end up with a chicken killer if you do.

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