Friday, October 25, 2013


And then there were nine.

Sometimes I feel like I'm living an Agatha Christie mystery. Yesterday reminded me of Ten Little Indians or And Then There Were None.

While I was in town doing my civic duty (may post about Jury Duty another time) something got inside the chicken fencing and killed another chicken. We are not sure what animal, or how they got through the fencing. Another raccoon probably. But we found it curious that it happened during the day while no one was home. We may need to invest in a motion activated camera.

By the time I got home the chickens were frantic. Four (three hens, one rooster) had flown and scattered for safety and the remaining five inside the fencing were anxiously calling for them. The five were clustered at one corner which gave me a clue where to look for the loose ones. The rooster had gone down by the goats and was inside their fencing. I could hear the three hens clucking down in the woods somewhere.

I ventured a few feet into the woods but found it very difficult with the thorny vines, overhanging branches and fallen trees. I finally saw them and hoped they would hear me calling and come out on their own because there was no way I was going to be able to get to them.

Then I thought about Dog. I haven't talked much about our sweet Dog. She's just always faithfully there, watching over us, protecting us, barking when someone comes up the driveway, shedding hair all over the house. She is an eight year old miniature Australian Shepherd. She was given to us when we left Florida because her family worked all day and she really deserved more attention. We treat her like a house dog, but really she's a working dog.

She doesn't usually pay much attention to the chickens. I think she's scared of the fencing because she's been zapped a little. But when I insisted she come with me to help, she came happily. She assessed the situation quickly and, with only a little urging, went straight to work herding the three hens. It was quite amazing to watch her. We haven't had an occasion yet when we needed her to really herd anything like she wants to and instinctively knows how to. One chicken flew to a tree branch and Dog sat under it and barked until I got there and was able to get the chicken down. Dog herded the rooster until it flew back over the fencing. Dog got down into the woods where only she and the chickens could go. We eventually got the other two back to the flock. Dog sat protectively and rested at the corner of the fencing when it was all over. I wish had a video to show you how good she was. Can you tell how much we love her?

So we're now down to nine chickens: two roosters and seven hens. We should start having eggs any day now, although after their scare yesterday the poor little hens may not be able to lay for awhile. Guv'nor just sees his potential eggs for his cooked breakfasts disappearing, so we are already thinking about getting more chickens.

I'm going to set the trap again and see what I can catch.

After it was all over, Dog sat watchfully and rested. She was out of breath.

The chickens were staying well clear of the carnage (top of photo).

Guv'nor kindly disposed of the body, but so many loose feathers were left.

Here is our sweet Dog posing for me this morning.

Daughter gave her a bath after her ordeal in the woods.

Dog got leftover smoked brisket last night as a reward.