Dog attack

Last Saturday turned out to be tragic for quite a few animals on the farm. First, the unofficial farm manager Little Friend (a cat) had to be euthanized after finding out on Friday that he had feline immunodeficiency virus and could infect other cats on the farm and in the neighborhood.

But even worse than that, I checked on my chickens in the early afternoon Saturday and found that a predator had gotten in the pen and had some fun. It was a gruesome sight, dead chickens flung around and piles of dead, injured, and live ones too. As of today, after putting down 10 of the worst injured chickens, 14 out of 50 have survived. Two of those are limping badly, but they may still pull through.

The suspects are either the neighbors dogs or foxes. Because it took place in the middle of the day (between 8:30 and 3), and the chickens were mauled but none were eaten or carried away, and I saw the neighbors two little dogs running around the farm that afternoon, I suspect that the dogs were the culprits.

Its possible that foxes were responsible, since there is a family in the area, but they generally carry away some birds to eat, and do their work mainly early in the morning at or before sunrise.

The neighbors, of course, say that it could not possibly have been their dogs. And at this point I guess it doesn’t really matter. Most of the blame lies on me because I saw that morning that a piece of pvc had broken and there was a gap between two pieces of the door frame, but decided to fix it on another day. If I had been more careful or designed the house better, this may not have happened, either by dogs or by foxes, so there is no point in being angry.

This does highlight one of the issues with creating integrated livestock and vegetable farming systems. Not only is it nearly impossible to make any profit on raising chickens for meat or eggs in a non intensive and unmechanized system, having the chickens on pasture adds more expense, risk, and work, which all together creates a price for eggs and meat difficult for consumers to swallow.

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3 Responses to Dog attack

  1. Anne says:

    Hi Anna, I’m sorry that happened. 😦 People with dogs never believe it possible they could do these things. My mother told me a story about their family dog who was accused of killing neighbor chickens. She couldn’t believe it (and didn’t) until she happened to catch her dog in action. Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to run free onto other properties, so I don’t see the fault as yours in this case.

  2. Tere says:

    This was a tough post for me to read both for Little Friend, and the dog (fox) attach, and the fact that you had to put down some of the chickens. I hope the two limping chickens do make it through their injuries. And Anna i think it’s perfectly normal to be upset. You work hard for your farm and had taken precautionary measures to protect your chickens. At this point its helpful to remember that not all dog owners are as responsible as we’d like them to be, dogs and fox are animals and must practice their animal instinct, and farmers (thats you) will continue to do what they are so good at; the farm. Even on days when you feel like pulling your hair out because there’s people like myself that immensely appreciate your hard work and the produce you provide me with to enjoy with my daily meals.

  3. upliftfarm says:

    Thanks guys! You make me feel better.

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