January 11, 2010

we're down a few girls.

Last week, on the night of our anniversary, the neighbor’s dog discovered our hens. We had both been busy that day. I was making deliveries in Pittsburgh and Nate was traveling to pick up the organic soybeans for our feed ration. We had planned to meet up that evening to celebrate somehow. Nate showed up at the farm at dark to close up the Eggmobile. The hens intuitively head inside as it starts to get dark and climb up on the roosts to sleep. Once they’re all inside we close their door for the night. The attack happened just before dark as they were going inside. There were feathers everywhere and hens were missing. They were confused, scared and flustered and so were we. The neighbors had been warned that there are chickens here and had been asked to keep a close watch on their dogs. Nate was angry and upset and was trying to figure out what happened so he stopped by the neighbor’s house. He said it was his dogs that did it and that they brought the dead hens home to him. Nice.
He apologized and asked what he owed us saying he would pay for the lost hens. Let me tell you, Mr. Neighbor Man, it is not that simple. About 7 or 8 of them were dead and gone while 4 or 5 of them were injured. A couple were so badly injured that we had to euthanize them. Some of them had open wounds from the dogs. A chicken will peck at anything that looks interesting. Unfortunately, once a chicken tastes blood it triggers their cannibalistic tendencies and the hens will start pecking at each other. They will kill each other this way so it must be stopped as soon as possible. Luckily we were able to remove the bloody birds and act fast enough. It was such a terrible feeling and we were really upset. We lost 12 birds total and there’s a dozen eggs per day that we’re not getting anymore. Eggs are our only winter income and now that had decreased. Not to mention that because of the stress of the attack, no one was laying properly and that is just now starting to get back to normal. It’s not like we can easily replace the missing hens either. Our hens have already established a pecking order and will most likely not mix well with others.
So, you see, Mr. Neighbor Man and his dogs caused a ripple effect which we’re still dealing with. You better believe we’ll be taking all of that into account when we figure out how much he owes us.

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