Dog vs. Chicken

I’ll be brief. Or at least I’ll try.

Yesterday, Sunday, we had a nice day, mostly. Church was at 9, and I had a visit at 1pm, so I was home by 2pm and even had a nap. Sunshine and I worked on a puzzle together, which was great fun. Rain came and went, then showed up again.

Then it happened. I heard frantic clucking and saw chickens madly dashing in all directions, chased by two dogs: one golden retriever and one black lab. I set Walnut down, called upon Princesa and Sunshine to watch over him, allowed Gum to join me and I was outside in a flash, feet in rubber boots. I shouted and the dogs pelted off and around the block toward their home. I knew these dogs, too.

One chicken was in sight. Dot. She was on her side under the trampoline, surrounded by a pool of her own feathers. One wing flapped spastically; I had the distinct impression that it was residual nervous system stuff. She was clearly dead or nearly there. Later, when I looked at her, I saw that her neck had been broken by some violent shaking by a dog. I’m pretty sure she was dead before I even saw her.

Lucy emerged in the yard of the neighbor to the east. She’s a large, pretty black chicken and probably the smartest of the bunch, if it’s at all appropriate to call any chicken ‘smart.’ By this time, my older two lads, Spasmo and Bill, had emerged from the house into the rain. I sent them off to the front to try to track down chickens. They were grumpy at being rained on, but they went to the search with a will, each going off in a different direction around the block.

Hotness showed up a minute later, having been awakened from her nap by the commotion. Then our neighbor behind and to the west of us, the folks who own the dogs, called, “Did you see the dogs? Are they over there?” I told her that they had been through the yard and had disappeared around the block. She expressed concern for the chickens, which was nice.

I dug around the yard, looking for the rest of the hens. After a lot of wet searching and excellent use of sharp eyes by Hotness and Bill, the remaining chickens were found, all alive.

Hotness apparently had an exchange with the dogs’ owner, who was very apologetic and offered a perfectly reasonable explanation. Hotness is a very kind person and was appreciative of the woman’s sentiments. I would have been too; they’re dogs, not people. No matter how well trained, they’re still dogs and are not accountable for their actions. The neighbor will adjust her behavior based on the experience, so that is fine.

Forgiven.

None of the chickens got very far. Chickens tend to be homebodies. They could jump and flap over the fence enclosing our back yard, but why would they?

Oh yeah, they would do that if they were being chased by a dog.. a dog or two, I guess. Dogs which had to either jump the fence or bull down a firm barrier to even gain access into our yard.

So you tell me: which creature needs more regulation? Dogs are loud, smelly, and can do actual damage to other animals and people. Dogs need more space, ruin your yard if you let them, chew toys and furniture and have to be trained to do their business outside. And they do their business in my yard, even though I don’t have a dog. They also provide companionship and some learning opportunities. I like dogs.

My chickens fertilize my back yard, boost my compost, don’t stink, only make noise when they proudly proclaim that they have laid an egg, don’t chase other critters or imperil anyone or thing aside from bugs, reduce my garbage volume, provide work opportunities for my kids, connect my family closer to our food, and are very satisfying to watch as they eat EVERY EARWIG AND EARWIG EGG in our yard. My chickens do NOT attract vermin of any kind, nor foxes nor coyotes nor skunks, despite the fact that I live 1/2 mile from a mountain.

Tell me again which animal needs more regulation and why.

About jaredgarrett

Jared Garrett is the author of Beat, a YA scifi thriller, and its forthcoming sequel, both published by Future House Publishing. A new series, debuting in January 2016 and also published by Future House, kicks off with Lakhoni, a fast-paced rescue adventure in a world reminiscent of Aztec culture, to be released in January 2016. He self-published Beyond the Cabin, a novelization of his childhood in a cult, in December 2014. Both Beat and Beyond the Cabin were Whitney Award nominees, and his story Song of the Wind, received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. In addition to writing, he's spent fifteen years in adult education and is an accomplished public speaker and workshop leader.
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