It seems that we have more than our share of backyard farming disasters. But then we have been at it for 11 years and our backyard farm is bigger than urban farms. So maybe our disasters are relatively average.
It has been one year since our old dog Cinder succumbed to cancer. We decided it was time for a new dog. It wasn’t easy finding one. We agreed that everyone in the family had to like whatever dog we chose. After weeks of scouring the animal shelters and want ads, we found Dixie, a beautiful 11-month-old Golden Retriever cross. Her personality was nice and we thought she was perfect.
For several days there was someone home to watch her. We finally thought she was ready to be left alone for a day. We set up a 100 foot zip line and halter for her with her food, water, and shelter within reach. All was well when we left. We returned to an absolute massacre. The halter was not on her tight enough and during the day she got her mouth under the neck strap and chewed it off. She got into our layer pen and killed every one of our 19 layers. Our two boys got home from school as she was finishing off the last one. There were dead chickens and feathers everywhere. It was shocking.
We were anguished not only by our chickens, but that maybe Dixie was spoiled. When I was young, a dog got in to the neighbors sheep and killed a hundred of them. They said it made the dog crazy so they euthanized it. After talking to several people, we concluded that Dixie might be okay. She is just a puppy who thought she was playing. But we will be extra careful in the future. If anyone has advice for us, please comment below.
My wife, LeAnn, knew I was taking the death of the chickens pretty hard. So while I was at work the next day, she went to a neighbor and bought six adult layers for me. So at least I don’t have to eat eggs from the store.
Goodbye, little hens, may you rest in peace… and thank you for all the eggs.