Saturday, May 8, 2010
The Dog; or the Wine Man Cometh
The chickens were strangely silent.
It was early morning, 6:40, the time I normally go out to feed them and water them before work. I headed out towards the coop. I had a small flock of 7 chickens, mostly brown mixed breeds. And I have a great rooster. He is large and bold and struts like he owns the place.
But he was strangely silent this morning.
I wandered back to the coop, only to be met at the gate by the biggest black lab I'd ever seen his head up, saliva drooling from one corner of his mouth, and his tail waving furiously. At his heels was a smaller pit bull mix, a dead chicken in his mouth.
I yelled. The pit bull dropped the chicken and looked up at me like he was waiting for his treat.
I pushed past the lab and the coop was in ruins. The wire had been yanked free of the post in one corner and the door had literally been pulled off the hinges. Feathers carpeted the ground in and around the coop.
There were bodies tucked here and there.
The dogs just looked at me. I wanted to be angry. I wanted to scream, but.... But. The dogs just smiled up at me.
I grabbed their collars and pulled them into the yard, tying them up with a jump rope. The owners number was on the collar and I called on my cell phone. He lived across town and was frantic for his dogs.
I went back and surveyed the damage.
Three chicken carcasses limp in the dirt. There was no blood, so I assume they were shaken (not stirred) I fished them out and tossed them in the freezer for the hawks. The other bodies were missing. I had no idea how long the dogs had been harrying the chickens, so their bodies could be anywhere.
I heard the crunch of tires as the owner pulled up. It turned out he was a cyclist friend of mine. We ride together from time to time. His dogs had escaped the fence sometime last night and found their way across town in the darkness.
My friend was devastated that his dogs did this to my birds. "Can I replace the chickens? Can I pay you?"
How much is a flock of pet chickens worth?
I had chicks in the incubator - The flock would survive this, but it would be a while before it would be giving me eggs again.
I let him know that my wife and I prefer white wines - not too dry.
It was time for work, and as I pulled out of the driveway, I heard a cluck-clucking coming from the woods behind my neighbors house.
Two chickens survived. I found them wandering around the coop when I got home from work.
The rooster sauntered out of the woods later.
I patched up the coop. It wasn't pretty to begin with, and I was thinking of rebuilding - this has just advanced my time line.
The chicks are growing quickly.
And today - the wine man cometh. Two well chosen bottles.
It's going to be okay.