Good News and Bad News

And isn’t that the way life is?  The good and the bad, we get both together. I’ve had a pretty rough 4 days, and I really didn’t want to share it, but I will… First the moon…this morning at 7. Two views with my little camera and I have no idea how this works. 🙂

moon

moon 2

Light and dark, good and bad…Notice how we can see all the beautiful details of the moon in the darker photo.

I am on watch this morning and so is my neighbor north of us…In 4 days two small “yapper” dogs have killed 8 of our chickens, 5 of his and 3 of mine. These little dogs, one black…one white, both with collars, have become blood thirsty killers. I will spare you a photo of Mr. Knightly. He was taken down yesterday. And yesterday my husband and I were on watch all morning…ready, prepared, but we stopped for lunch and the white dog got Mr. Knightly in those few minutes we were eating. We didn’t hear a thing… I just don’t understand.

The good news is the neighbor got the white dog yesterday afternoon, and now we are watching for the black one.

It started last Saturday. We went to the Gourmet Yarn Co. and out for lunch. It was a good morning! See my post on woven with her hands for that story. But when we got home…

green

… we encountered the two dogs. They had Mara, the old Marans hen down on the ground feathers in their mouths. Shocked…we pulled over, one of us ran up to the house to get the gun, but the dogs ran off. Mara was OK. Going down to inspect the barn yard, we found one hen on a nest (she’s broody), and one up in the rafters. The small chickens had gone up the ramp and were hiding up in their roosts. Smart birds!  Slowly, but surely all the hens and Mr. Knightly came back, except for the old Welsummer, and I have not seen her since.

Every time predators have killed our chickens they have not returned, but this was not the case with these two dogs. We made sure the chickens were all OK and then went up to the house. Keeping an eye and an ear out, we went on with our day. Then my daughter yelled out that she saw a dog, and sure enough they came back. This time there was a pile of feathers…

feathers

Those little dogs running through the field are hard to shoot. It would take a really good marksman to take one down. They got away again. Again we checked out the hens. I was convinced the feathers were the rooster’s, Mr. Knightly’s. He was no where to be found. The hens were in the coop, Emma was crouched down in the corner and when we picked her up we found that her wing was entirely torn off and she was badly wounded. We had to put her down. So sad. She had been such a good hen and an excellent Mama to her chicks… I broke down and cried.

We shut up the coop for the night and set the dog trap. After dinner several of us were sitting around the table playing a game, and someone spotted the white dog by the back door. Again, the guys went out to hunt down those dogs. But to no avail and guess who was in the trap? Mr. Knightly!  My husband put him in the coop and set the trap again.

The next day the neighbor told us that the two dogs got five of his hens. So that brings us to the present of being on watch. Mr. Knightly and Emma are gone and the last of the Welsummers, I have not seen.

It’s left me to rethinking this free range thing. But even with the birds cooped up, we’ve suffered great loss. Or maybe this is just how it is. I wanted to give up raising chickens at first, but I’ve also realized that I really enjoy them, and I don’t want to give up.

How can I leave this on a good note?  LIGHT shines in the darkness!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1: 1-5

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

There is always hope, whether we understand things or not! And we are just not going to understand everything. That’s just the way life is…

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23 thoughts on “Good News and Bad News

  1. Amen and a great point! Only HE knows the answers to most things in regards to how and why! On a side note, if the owners let their dogs run free and kill your animals, they should expect that one day they will not come home!

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  2. Oh I’m so sorry to hear the dogs got your hens. What a shame and just before Christmas. We keep our hens free range within an electrified fence and that keeps the fox and the dogs out. We did lose one chicken last year when next door’s dog got into the hen house where we were raising the chicks and that wasn’t electrified, but for peace of mind our others are behind a fence. It does mean moving it a couple of times a year to give them fresh grass but they have a large area to roam around in. I do hope you get some more hens soon.

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    • My neighbor has an invisible electric fence that keeps her dog in. I wonder if something like that would keep the dogs out? I’ll have to look into that. I still have 5 hens and all 10 of my little 3 month old chicks left. I’m thankful for that. 🙂

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  3. I am so so so sorry. It makes me very sad that Emma and Mr. Knightly’s story has a tragic ending this time. 😦 Those darn dogs! I think the electric fence idea sounds like a good one, but personally, I would rather my chickens get to free range than be cooped up, for their own happiness and quality of life, and also healthier eggs, even if it means their lives may be shorter in the long run. Your moon photos are very beautiful. I’m glad you are able to have a bigger perspective right now… seeing beauty in both the darkness and light, since this life is full of both.

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  4. How awful! I am so sorry to hear that. I know that they can’t be “replaced,” but maybe you will be able to fall in love with one of Emma’s daughters like you did with her.
    We have that invisible electric dog fence you are talking about in the comment above and it only works on dogs that are wearing the special collar that goes with it so it wouldn’t work to keep strays away.
    I hope you get the black dog soon and have a loooong break from predators.

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    • We used to have dogs, a 3/4 Husky-1/4 wolf, who had lots of babies… And several German Shepherds…but they are gone now, and I don’t like puppies tearing up my gardens, so we haven’t had a dog for about a year. I’m not sure they would protect the hens either, it depends on the dog. My son said it would be good to get a Great Pyrenees and let him grow up with the hens.

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  5. I am so sorry you have so many issues with dogs. It is heartbreaking just reading about the chickens. I can’t imagine how awful you must be feeling. Those dogs are evil. Perhaps you should put some kind of sleeping drug in the body of one of the dead chickens – to make the dog sleepy and more easy to put down. Good luck getting rid of the last dog.

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    • Thank you. I think the owner must be aware something is going on since the white dog is gone, because we have not seen the black dog now for 2 days. Still on guard, though. 🙂 They don’t seem to come after the dead birds. I think there is something exciting in the chase for them that gets them going. We have a dog trap that has a bait cage where you can safely put a bird and hope the dogs will enter the trap. But I just have a hard time putting one of the hens in there, although I think she’s probably safer in there than out free.

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  6. I am so sad for you. We’ve been through this many times with our chickens. Our biggest problem is raccoons. But once we had a dog get a couple of hens. Why would dogs do that? I don’t understand. But they seem to be the worst predators of all. They’re just in it for the thrill. I don’t have any answers for you. But I hope you catch that crazy critter. I’ll be thinking about you.
    Rhythm

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