Thursday, May 17, 2007

Predator loss

I know this is retribution for being smug about no predator losses, but we lost a mother hen, a Dark Cornish, to the neighbor(1/2 mile away)'s dog yesterday morning between 6:30 when my DH lets them out of the coop into the yard, and 7:30 when I went up to feed them.
There were feathers everywhere, and at first I couldn't figure out where she had gone, as the fencing had fallen back down over the hole.  I went out of the yard and walked the perimeter and found the tracks, then identified the hole.  I was just sick.  The 6 baby chicks are all right; they and the mama were the only ones in that coop and yard.  The youngest ones are 3 weeks old, and this IS central Arizona, so they are feathered enough to be OK. 
I have been seeing poop from a strange dog near the coops, and somebody got into our trash the last time we butchered, so should have been prepared for this to happen.
I phoned the neighbor and left a message asking if his dogs had been out at that time, since they had tried to get into a coop about a year ago and failed. He showed up at the house almost immediately, very apologetic.  His dog had actually taken the carcass home with her to chew on at her leisure, I guess.
He offered to pay for the chicken, but I refused.  If this happens again, and I have to shoot the dog, I don't want him thinking we had a deal to trade dead chickens for money. He assured me it will never happen again, but did tell me that she had killed all his daughter's chickens at their other place; they have only lived here about 4 years. She's an Aussie, and I love the breed, but a wrong Aussie can be very, very wrong and too smart to be thwarted in something they really love.
When my DH got home last night late, I told him and he was all for going over to the neighbor's house and thrashing him, but I was able to deflect him, thank goodness.  I really hate being enemies with the neighbors, and if it never happens again, I want to avoid that route. 
DH really prizes his Dark Cornish, and she was one of 3 out of 4 Dark Cornish to go broody AND do a good job of it.
Forgive me for this rant, but I needed to get it off my chest.

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