Tag Archives: dogs

Tragedy Strikes (Again)

It’s the sort of thing that anyone who owns chickens dreads—coming out and finding a bunch of feathers in the yard. I started walking the paths and discovered other patches of feathers, no birds except two: Patty and Third. Patty survived our first dog attack almost six years ago. Third was one of three of our youngest hens.

Patty Survivor, Patty

Up over the hill, I found more feathers. Then a portion of one chicken. Not much left except wings, a bit of a backbone, and a foot. Nearby I found Minion, badly mauled and near death. She couldn’t be saved.

A bit farther on I found the place where dogs or coyotes had dug under our fence to get into the yard. Also feathers from Flighty, a tough survivor from our second group of hens.

Further searching showed scattered patches of feathers but no other remains. No sign of the attacker or attackers, who must have gone back under the fence.

I piled stones and wood along the base of the fence to block off the spot where they dug under. Maybe it will keep them out.

I buried Minion and the remains of the other chicken, either Floppy or Paltry, no way to tell which. Along with Baldy and Flighty, they were gone.

I walked the property with Xander and Kate without discovering anything more.

I moved our dome coop closer to the house—though from feathers outside, whatever attacked had come right up behind the house. Patty and Third went inside, so I locked them safely away for now.

It’s sad. I’m sad. I haven’t been eating eggs since switching to a whole foods, plant-based diet, but I enjoy seeing the chickens. I feel bad that they died being chased, mauled, and devoured by a predator. Eventually, I want a better fence system around the property, both for privacy and security.

Not the way I planned on starting the day.

Love that sunshine!

Saturday was nice and sunny, I really wanted to get some work done but I wasn’t sure how much I could do with Xander on the loose.  He loves being able to explore so I didn’t want to confine him to the playpen (plus I can only be right around the house if he’s in the playpen– not going to haul it up the hill). On our last walk up into the orchard he had really enjoyed digging in the dirt with his hands so I thought he might enjoy digging with a spoon.  I grabbed the big pruning shears (what I call the loppers), a spoon and small bowl for Xander to dig with, and a bottle of water and we headed up to the orchard. Settled Xander down and went to the nearest tree to start pruning. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to work before he got bored with digging but I figured any work was good.

Xander digging
Digging a hole.
Xander measuring
Measuring how much dirt he'd removed.

It was amazing, give the boy a spoon and some dirt and he was completely enthralled. I was able to work on the trees for an hour and a half! I had to move Xander 3 times so that he was close to the trees I was working on but he didn’t try to wander off, for the most part he was content to just dig where I sat him.

Happy digger.
Happy digger!

I’m probably not doing the best job pruning but I’m really just aiming to remove damaged branches or ones that cross over each other and rub. After cutting the branches I hauled them all towards the path so we can move them down to the brush pile with the wheel barrow (not something I could do with Xander). I tried to get Poppy and McCoy to pose near the pile of branches for scale but they weren’t really cooperating.

Branch pile
Happy dogs!

They were however very happy that we all spent time outside in the sunshine.