It started out a normal Saturday. I went out in the morning and opened up the chicken tractor so the younger chickens could run around. I even collected an egg from the older group. Jim and I had our coffee, I looked outside a few times and everything was fine. I was just about to step in the shower and Jim was going outside to start the car before he went to Grand Rapids for his normal Saturday errands.
Jim called out to me that I need to come check my chickens because they were out in the yard. I started to tell him they were fine because I had let them out this morning, but when I got to the kitchen window I saw Bert on the ground in front of the coop, outside of the electric fence. He was just laying on the ground. The first thing I thought was an hawk had attacked and found him to heavy to carry off and dropped him. The second thing I realized was that I was naked and could not just run out the door! I threw on some clothes and went outside. Jim was behind me with one of our dogs, Chip, and they were headed to the garage.
As I walked up to Bert I did see that he was alive but he had lost all his feathers in his back and rear area and was very bloody. He did not move, just sat on the ground. Then I noticed a large brown dog came around the back of the Corn Crib Carport and stood at the back of the chicken coop. I yelled at Jim to pick Chip up before he noticed the dog and ran after him. Then I yelled at Jim to go get his gun.
Jim went to get his gun, the dog ran away along the back field headed east. I then noticed Yolanda lying in front of the Corn Crib Carport. She was dead. I then went into the Carport and heard clucking. I found Joe behind some boards, He was uninjured. There were a ton of feathers all over the ground everywhere. I heard some more clucking and I found Princess Diana at the other end of the Corn Crib Carport. She too was uninjured.
Meanwhile Jim had come back out with his gun and cell phone and was trying to get Animal Control to come out. The dog was gone. I went to try to find Lillian, she was lying between the carport and the small barn. She was dead too.
Jim was in the garage talking to the police about getting a hold of Animal Control and I heard a dog bark. The dog was back, it was in the lot on the east of us. It was barking at me. I went into the garage to tell Jim that it was back, when I look back out in the lot the dog was closer, but it just stood there barking at me. You could tell it kept looking over at the barn wanting to go back and continue his fun he had chasing and killing the chickens.
Animal Control called us and told us she would be there in 5 to 10 minutes. I took Bert into the house and put him in a box that was in the mudroom. I wanted to get him out of the cold and in something he could be transported in.
Animal Control came but was unable to catch the dog he kept running away. She said she was going to drive and try to follow it then she would be back to take some pictures. We told her we had to leave because we were taking Bert to the emergency animal hospital in Grand Rapids. I told her that I put the dead chickens in the carport on the bench.
We drove Bert to Grand Rapids. I called ahead and told them we were bringing him in. There was not too much they could do for him. They gave him oxygen to help him calm down. He has open wounds and there may be an area by his wing that is missing flesh. He also has puncture that we don't really know how deep it is. They gave him shots for pain and antibiotics. They sent us home with liquid oral meds for pain and antibiotic. My first thought was "how the hell are you supposed to force liquid down a chicken's throat!"
It was a very long day. Trying to figure out what happened, all I can guess is that when the dog attacked the younger group, Bert heard the commotion and flew over the electric fence to try to help protect the chickens. I remembered when the opossum got in the chicken tractor, it was Bert in the other coop making all the noise, probably because he heard the others in distress. What a good boy he is.
We did find out that the dog came from down the road. I guess an eight year old child was home alone and let the dog out. They usually keep it penned in. They will be fined for the dog being loose and not having any tags on it. I'll have to sue for any other damages. I'm not sure if we can have the dog destroyed, I'm not sure if we get a say in that. Jim will talk again to the Animal Control officer and get more details.
Of course when Jim took me to TSC to get some things for Bert, they had the baby chicks there! I know this is part of farm life, but its still hard and sad. Those two girls were so sweet. Yolanda was very skittish, that was a characteristic of her breed, but she was getting less shy when I came with treats. And Lillian really started perking up after Jim and I trimmed her crest. She would greet me at the door and follow me out in the yard. I really think she appreciated being able to see so much better! I will miss them terribly. I was really looking forward to seeing more of their personalities develop.
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