Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Un-Saint-ly Bernard (by Kat)

Yesterday, from upstairs, screams and yelling:

Chickens! Chickens! DOG!!! MOM DAD MOM!!!

I ran out the back door, my husband out the front.

The cacophony centered between us, on the side of the house.

A St Bernard stood alongside the picket fence chewing on one of our hens.

As much as I yelled and screamed, he wouldn't back off. In fact, I'm not sure he even noticed me. Any other dog would have received a major hit over the head, but this guy could have simply walked through the fence and I didn't want to take any chances. But something had to be done. I mean this dog was chewing on my chicken like a squeaky (and feathery) toy.

He and his gang of three other smaller dogs finally ran off. The damage is severe, but Cumulus is hanging in there. We treated her with Povidone solution, and I ran down to the feed store to purchase the antibiotic-added chicken feed. She has to be kept separately from the other two gals, who can't resist the urge to peck her even further. With a broken leg and a broken wing, and her tail only held on by a flap of skin, she's really not able to defend herself at all.

In our town, only recently has it been legal to keep hens. They're required to be kept in a pen away from the property boundary. Our little gals are never happy in their pen, even though it has trees, a trellis, an enclosed coop, an open coop, and plenty of shade, water, and food. Nope, Marble, Cumulus, and Seraphina are only happy when they're wandering the whole yard.

They could easily fly over the picket fence, or even squeeze through the slats, but they never do. As long as they can have the whole yard, they feel they have the whole oyster. So, when neighborhood dogs escape from their yards and roam, we can complain about the illegality of loose dogs, but our chickens (in the eye of the law) are just as illegal.

If the dogs came in our yard, we could legally shoot them for going after our livestock. We'd probably cause ourselves all kinds of headaches, but we'd be in the legal right. Personally, I'd rather see the owners at the end of my barrel, as they're the ones at fault. If a dog is big enough to lean over a fence and grab a chicken, he's going to. Duh! It's not his fault.

But as long as we let our chickens roam the yard, well then it's our fault, too. So yesterday the two remaining hens were locked into the pen. Cumulus is still hanging in there, and the world keeps spinning.

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