Sometime between around 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm tonight, our neighbor’s dog attacked our flock. Again. The attacks were not made by anything hungry – the birds were just bitten, shaken, and dropped. We lost five hens today. Three of them ISA Browns, and one a Black Star, the breeds we rely upon for frequent egg laying (basically an egg a day). The other was a sweet Buff Orpington.
Furious…irate…disgusted…livid. Those are a few adjectives that spring to mind. Defeated is another.
This happened before, back in November. We haven’t seen the attacks, but we have seen this dog (a bird hunting breed) on our property enough, and there was literally a trail of feathers leading back to where he crosses onto our land the last time. Back then, I tried stopping by the neighbor’s house to talk to them about it, but nobody was home, so I left a voicemail. It took about six weeks, but they finally called me back. Of course, their response was that their dog would never do such a thing! I explained that we were not wanting bad blood, but we wanted them to be aware of the problem so that they could correct it.
Apparently, they haven’t.
Now, some would suggest that a fence would solve this problem, and believe me, if we had the money, there would be an electrified fence going up tomorrow to at the very least deter these attacks. But anyone who has kept chickens and experienced a neighbor’s dog that is insistent on doing this knows they will literally scale the fence or dig underneath it to get to those birds. What truly needs to happen is that people who have dogs need to be responsible owners and not dismiss the idea that their dog could do any wrong. They can. And they do.
We are feeling defeated. We were already having low numbers in our egg production, and having difficulty meeting orders. Couple that with the fact that this entire egg-laying operation has cost us far more than we have made, and we won’t be turning that trend around anytime soon, and you might see why we are considering getting out of the egg business altogether. We simply can’t afford to raise eggs for everyone else, especially when we just keep running into troubles like this. It’s weighing heavy on our minds this evening. We may find alternatives to try, or we may just decide it’s not worth it and focus on the things that are.
Shortly after we moved into this house, we started meeting neighbors, and every one of them was quick to voice their distaste for the previous owner. One of the things that we heard most often was how he had no tolerance for their pets coming onto his land, and that it had resulted in feuds and lawsuits. We’re starting to understand why. Apparently there is a total lack of respect on the part of some of the pet owners around here when it comes to insuring that their animals do not stray off of their own land and cause harm. A lack of respect, and denial.
We’ve documented the birds here in photos. These aren’t completely horrific carnage, but if you are squeamish, don’t click to embiggen them. I think it is important to put these out there to show one of the awful, but very real possibilities that come with owning livestock. It doesn’t have to be inevitable, but part of that will depend on how responsible your neighbors are with their pets.
Poor little ladies. I’m so sorry that you had to endure such a terrible end. 🙁
I’m profoundly sad. That, in turn, is stoking the flames of my anger, because this just didn’t need to happen. Needless to say, I will be watching the property tomorrow for any signs of unwanted visitors, and encouraging them to depart if any arrive.