The End of an Era

Friends, I don’t even know where to start… I’ve done too much ugly crying today and writing this post seems like the only thing that I can do now. Two-thirds of my beloved chickens are dead. Six of my beautiful hens were killed for pleasure by my neighbor’s dogs today. A rotten little Chihuahua and Dachshund came into my yard, worked together to killed my birds, and then tried to bite Thomas when he went out to chase them off.
Luckily the kids and I weren’t home at the time and Thomas had time to collect the remains and bury them. Can you imagine what it would have happened if my kids were out there, seeing all that, and then being in harm’s way?!
I went out to collect a weekend’s worth of eggs and found so many feathers. Oh, the feathers.

When Thomas initially went outside he thought that all of the chickens were dead and called to tell me. I was miserable. Hours later three hens came out of hiding. My favorite, a giant Barred Rock (black and white speckled), who was very motherly, tame, and definitely the head hen, isn’t among the survivors. Now they are confined to just their coop instead of the new run because I’m too scared to let them out.

The hens liked to lay behind a big scrap board that is propped against the barn. I moved the board to collect the eggs and was horrified to find blood covered eggs in their nest. One of the girls must have tried to hide there before being chased out again. I lost it when I found those bloody eggs. I tried so hard to give them a happy chicken life, but knowing that it all ended in terror makes me feel sick.

I painted a little chicken (from nail polish) to commemorate their grave.

There you have it. My little heart hurts. I know they were just chickens but they were my chickens and I sure did love them. Who knew poultry would make such good pets?

Thanks for letting me bawl on your shoulder.

PS. I actually called animal control after the dogs were chasing a little girl home from school later in the day, and they came and picked them up. The owners haven’t been home yet and don’t even know what happened. I’ll be surprised if they say anything to us though, but I’ll let you all know how things go down.

Comments:

  1. No! I am a heartless android and my eyes are filled with tears for you. I hope your neighbor feels horrible and your remaining chickens have long, pleasant, egg-filled lives.

  2. I am so sorry. :) I am glad you had a sweet husband to take care of everything for you. And what a huge blessing your kids weren’t out there. I really liked your last post you did about your chickens. You definitely deserve to eat a batch of cookies!

  3. Wow! I am sad with you! I felt petty thinking about those darn dogs and their fate or if your neighbor would compensate you for your loss but it made me happy that you included the PS and that you’ll keep us updated. I know that wasn’t the point of you post and that it’s not the most important thing. I agree with Tara above that you should drown your sorrows in sugar. :)

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about your chickens!
    I usually worry about fox or hawks, but for a neighbor’s dogs to do that… so sad!
    I like the chicken grave marker- very thoughtful.

  5. I’m so sorry about your chickens! I know how much you loved them and how much time and effort you put into them. I’m glad you and the kids weren’t home to witness it. The rock is adorable.

  6. Oh my, that’s so horrible. I am so sorry. The rock is nice. How are the surviving chickens doing? Do you they seem traumatized by it? That would be so scary. Glad you weren’t there when it happened.

  7. Oh my heart sinks for you too. That is just so sad and just terrible. I hope that your neighbors will step up to the plate and take some accountability. I’m so sorry.

  8. I read your post yesterday and was so sad for you. I didn’t initially comment because I wasn’t sure my comment would mean anything and I didn’t think I had the words to tell you how sorry I felt for you. But after reading your post today, I decided to add my heart-felt thoughts to all the others.

    For what it’s worth, here’s what I thought about as I read your post yesterday:
    I cried once when the corn I planted in our garden was knocked over and ruined by an awful rain/wind storm. I prayed so hard that the rain would stop. It didn’t. I was bitter. Then, I remember being puzzled that I was so upset over lost corn. It was only corn after all. But I think it taught me a valuable lesson. I realized that when you give so much of yourself to a person/animal (or even corn) that your love grows.
    My mission president always said the root word in sacrifice and sacred was the same. He said anything you sacrificed or worked for would become more sacred to you. As hard as it is, I think in this life we are given opportunities (whether great or small – whether over corn or hens or children or anything else) to understand more about sacrifice and love. I think that’s how we become more like the Savior.

    Anyway – I certainly hope your three remaining hens are doing okay and that your neighbors apologize. Hang in there!

    • Thanks for the kind words. I’ve been mulling them over all day. I might as well learn something from this than just feel sad and mad right?! Now I just have to figure out what I’m learning :)

  9. I’m sorry, Melissa. :( I’ve been loving your chickens vicariously through you, and I know you must be heartbroken. :( Go hug your kiddos. It’ll help.

  10. Oh no! Poor hens. Those dogs should not be allowed to run around at their pleasure. Especially if they are nipping at people for no apparent reason. Keep us updated on what happens and on your three remaining hens. I hear that scares like that can keep them from laying for awhile. I hope that’s not the case.

  11. Oh, I’m so sorry! We’ve had that happen to chickens and ducks, too. Once we had a loose dog chase one of our horses out onto the highway where he was hit by a truck. To really rub salt in the wound, our insurance had to cover the truck because our animal wasn’t ‘contained’ on our property.

    We made sure that our new fence is pretty much dog proof. We also have some llamas and that’s helped keep the strays (dogs and other people’s children) out of the pasture.

  12. My comment got cut off…
    Again, I’m so sorry. You put so much time and care into your chickens, and you have every right to be devastated. Dang dogs.
    Also, happy belated birthday to little Henry! I can’t believe how big our boys are!

  13. I’m very sorry for your loss…I love all animals and do rescue. But animals that harmm other creatures or people need to be delt with. In all my years of animal rescue (primarily dogs) the miniature dachshund is the only dog that has ever bit me (among all the pit bulls, dobermans, rotties, and german shepherds!).
    You did the right thing, no doubt.
    Most states have a leash law that states animals can’t run at large. Sounds like these dogs were loose. I have no idea where you are located, but often times the law mandates animal control MUST contact the owners in a certain time frame to make some type of amends prior to the shelter either rehoming or euthanizing. If the owners make no contact after notification in the proper time frame, they’ll likely be adopted out. Those breeds will likely be re-homed without a problem and luckily the staff will know to ensure they are in homes that don’t have chickens or the like. They will likely also remind the new owners of the leash law (and to keep them in the house or fenced area).
    I’m very sorry this happened to you. But I’m very glad no child had to witness this nor be subject to what could have happened. Small dogs like this usually aren’t well with children.
    My best to you and your family and the remainder of your chickens….

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  19. I know this is an old post, but I just ended up here through your caramel dip recipe post (via Pinterest) (thanks! and I pinned it). I know how much it hurts to lose pets/animals in such a senseless way. Many years ago, when a dog got my rabbit out of its run during the night (the lid wasn’t secure and I didn’t realize the danger), chased it to the woods and killed it, I cried for three days. Not continuously, of course, but–I just couldn’t get over it. I finally had to pray and ask God to help me, and He did. I had invested so much of myself in the rabbit, because it had health problems, and it was so sweet and responsive to me (unlike the others who didn’t give a hoot) that I felt I had completely failed my friend in a really stupid way. I was always calling the pound when I saw roaming dogs, and it used to be a big problem in my neighborhood. If I had seen this one, I probably would have beat it!

    Anyway, I just wanted to add that my dad grew up on a ranch, where of course they had chickens, cows, dogs, etc. and if any of their dogs ever killed a chicken, they would immediately have to shoot the dog. He said it was known that if a dog got a “taste for blood” like that, they would forever be a problem, and they couldn’t afford to let it live. So I hope your neighbor’s dogs will stay contained and that your chickens and other animals will stay secure!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comments and send your love (even on an old post). It sounds like you really understand just how hard that was for our family. And I’m so sorry to hear about your rabbit too. Thanks for stopping in and make that caramel, it’s so good to dip pretzels in ;)

      • Thanks for replying! Yes, I certainly do understand. And I’m so tenderhearted that I can’t even stand to see my cat catch a mouse. Oh well–this is the world we live in. I’m looking forward to a better one!

        I will try your caramel and keep an eye on your blog! Already got lost in your remodeling post and your “best of 2013″ recipes. =)