Friday, October 10, 2008

Last Saturday we were busy doing work around the house, when our neighbors ran into our yard after their "foster dog." It looks as if a stray dog was dumped near our house, and the neighbors have taken it in. It's a cute dog. It's nice. But on Sunday I was painting the window trim in the back yard when I heard two unfamiliar voices. It was our neighbors again. (We've seem them 3 times since we've lived here, and two of those times were last weekend.) They were carrying one of our hens over from their yard. I knew right away that their dog had gotten ahold of the hen. This group of hens doesn't leave our yard. They rarely even go out of our sight. They're really tame little girls. The hen was limping and the others immediately attacked her with pecking. I scooped her up and examined her. There wasn't any blood, just a lot of slimy dog saliva. There was an obvious puncture on her back. Many of her newly molted feathers had been torn off. I went through the usual, "Is this a mortal wound?" routine and decided I'd give her a few minutes to rest before I made any rash decisions. I hate to see chickens suffering, mostly because they're so tricky to treat. I was really disappointed that we'd managed to keep our chickens safe for 3 years by providing them with roosts and cooping them up at night. And now, someone's loose dog was about to cost us a layer.

Well, we've kept her separated for a week. She's had a heat lamp, because it seems she might have a fever and be fighting off some infection. She's had antibiotics and oatmeal. She's eating and drinking. She even gets up and walks around a little bit. That reminds me, I've got to move her little coop tonight when I get home. She might make it. These layers are so much more resilient than meat birds.

I can't wait to see her running around with the others soon.

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