BEWARE - below is a sad and slightly graphic story about my chickens.
I am very blessed to be able to work from home - I do not have to go to an office everyday, I set my own schedule, etc. etc. With work I have some days that are super busy, slow, and some that are totally unconventional Unfortunately yesterday was one of those unconventional days.
As many of you know, I play Farmer Dell's wife in the evening... I have chickens, rabbits, dogs, and now, a new cat. I am the primary care taker for these animals every evening and I really love it. Sunday evening while I was scoring some amazing deals at JCPenneys, Joe filled in for me and did the evening chores. When I got home he said he could not find Charlie, one of my bantam chickens. Bantam chickens are the lap dogs of the chicken world; they are 1/2 the size of regular chickens, have fun feathers, and are just generally very cute. I figured Charlie was just hiding and decided to check in the morning.
The next morning I went out and saw a pile of black feathers... with a dead Charlie underneath. I was pretty sad but know this is something that comes with having animals. I was suspicious that my *sweet* rottweiler, Boomhauer, was the cause of death but could not be certain. My husband disagreed, understandably so. Boomhauer is a REALLY good, sweet, dog. We haven't had any problems with him over the past couple years. The only incidents we saw between him and the chickens was when they tried to eat his food and he would chase them away.
Well, like I said, I thought it was Boomhauer, and his chasing away from the food turned into a (one sided) game for him... and that game eventually got too rough for Charlie and led to his demise. Joe and I agreed we would keep a closer eye on Boomhauer in the future.
Throughout the day yesterday, I regularly looked outside to make sure the dog was behaving and everything was in order. Everything was just fine until about 1pm... checked outside and saw a hen just sitting and Boomhauer curiously getting closer, backing away, etc. etc. From the window, everything looked fine. The hen appeared to be sunning and Boomhauer seemed to be just sniffing around. I decided to walk down there just to be sure.
I got to the hen (referred to as "the hen" because she was unnamed... but not unloved) and she seemed fine. Though maybe she was laying an egg. Lifted her to to get her to stand and she just... fell over. Her legs weren't working! Upon closer inspection, the hen had teeth marks in each of her thighs... she was in a lot of pain and I knew it wasn't right to make her live through the pain (and die naturally a few hours later).
Unfortunately, Joe wasn't home so I got the dispatching duties all to myself. When we have had to do this in the past, we do it as a two man operation. With no Joe, the responsibility was left to me for the first time, and it was not one of my favorite experiences ever. Thankfully, I was able to remind myself that I was not doing this for fun, rather, to put a suffering creature out of its misery.
The rest of the afternoon I spent feathering and gutting the (now dead) hen. She is now in the freezer and will be enjoyed later this winter in a big pot of chicken and dumplings.
Unfortunately there is not an ideal resolution to this story. My chickens are having to stay in the coop/run area (which is plenty big) until we can get Boomhauer to behave like normal. I am truly at a loss for what got into him and really confused.
Anyway, it was a sad couple of days on the Williams homestead and I thought I would share.
RIP sweet hens...
Megan is holding the unnamed hen here.
Charlie was the foster mother to these hens. She was a good momma.