Bridgette was attacked by a German shepherd yesterday. I had just gone inside to call the city because I had seen the dog on my property and had just chased it off. The chickens were in their pen, but it charged the pen and the chickens flew to get away and some of them ended up flying out of the pen. This was the site of the first attack, where the dog took off part of her tail (and all of her tail feathers). She got away briefly and it caught her again and chomped her across her back, where she has puncture wounds.
She’s alive but mauled and limping, but I’m really cheering for her to pull through. She’s just so pathetic looking, I didn’t have the heart to take her picture, but maybe I will today. It’s a little gruesome. I kept her in a little hospital box last night in the basement with a fan because it was so hot outside yesterday (this happened at around 11 am). Ed helped me examine her and spray her down with Septi-Cleanse.
She ate and drank last night and this morning, and this morning, she laid an egg, which I took as a very good sign. She didn’t lay yesterday, so I was worried she could have a crushed egg stuck in her. If she lays another egg tomorrow, I think that will be an extra positive sign. I also talked to Jenny (who is also Ed’s daughter-in-law and a vet). She recommended I clean her up again and said if she seemed to be doing better and the other chickens don’t pick on her, I could put her out and keep an eye on her wounds. They’re social animals, so they really do better with their flock.
This morning I gave her a little bath and cleaned her up and sprayed her wounds again (which is pretty much her whole raw back, under her wing, and tail) and let her join the girls outside.
Faith and Buffy started to pick on her a little bit, so I separated her and was going to make her her own separate pen, but she really seemed to want to get in with the others.
When I let her in, everyone left her alone, and she got into the nest box with great difficulty (I eventually just had to pick her up and put her in there, because she kept missing the side and getting stuck between the perch and the box) and was hanging out there. I guess it’s a safe place to recover, because you can just act like a broody hen and plant yourself there without too much trouble (no way to really be chased, and you can peck at anyone trying to bother you).
I bunched a lot of bedding hay up around the box so she’ll be able to just climb in and out instead of hopping too far, and I’m going to keep checking on her today to make sure she doesn’t come under attack.
My other concern is for the sheep–if a dog like that took to chasing them in this heat, it could kill them without even coming into contact with them. I put up a sign in the store & hopefully the owner will see it and realize that the friendly family dog just can’t be let out to roam. It wasn’t at all shy of people–it didn’t drop Bridgette and run off until I was just feet from it, though I was running at it and screaming from 50 yards away–and even then, it just ran off a safe distance until it realized we weren’t going anywhere and got bored of waiting around. It didn’t strike me as a vicious animal, and I’m sure it’s a sweet animal at home. But aside from the danger to livestock a big dog like that poses just by “playing,” I’d also be worried about it mauling a toddler or little kid without even meaning any harm. I personally have two close friends who were mauled by other people’s friendly family dogs of the German shepherd persuasion when they were little kids. I can also add that my family had German shepherds when I was very wee (newborn to 7 or 8), and they were wonderful, patient animals–at home.
The problem is that a big dog, no matter how friendly at home, is a menace on the loose. And when it’s after your animals, it may as well be a wild predator, and any farmer’s going to shoot it. So you’re not only endangering other people and animals by letting your dog run free, you’re endangering the dog itself. I love dogs, but dude. If some dog makes a habit of killing my animals, it may as well be a coyote or a raccoon.
I’m trying to be understanding, and the last thing I want to do is shoot a family dog with a shotgun, so I got a paintball gun last night. I figure that should scare/lightly hurt them and also mark them (if I can get any good at shooting the thing). Hopefully the owner will do the right thing and this won’t be a recurring problem (and Bridgette will recover) and I’ll be able to leave it at that. In any event, we’re making progress on the perimeter fence and hopefully we’ll be all squared away in the next month or so and I can go back to seeing dogs as a non-threat.
Last night, I mowed under the electric fence so the charge is back up, and I made the chickens a temporary internal enclosure with cattle panels lined with chicken wire and connected with these, which are just brilliant. Now there’s an extra buffer between them & their fence should the dog return.