Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Proof Is In The Poop

So I've had some sleuthing to do since I've gotten home. Besides the bobcat troubles up near the house, we lost some hens down in the pasture.
I spent a little time looking around today (I'm back from the Army), and it turns out that A LOT of hens are missing. It was pretty obvious - there was a carpet of feathers all around the coop.

This made absolutlely no sense. Our guard dogs may have let one, or two, critters get a shot at the hens, but we're missing way more than that. Carla caught one of our Pyrennes, Alfredo, chewing on some chicken remains, and this is bad, but not too unreasonable. However, I starting checking around for dog "piles", and sure enough, every turd I found had lots of feathers and various other chicken parts. Yes, our guard dog has been eating chickens whole.
One of the hens had a wounded tail, and I put her in front of him to see his reaction. He looked at her (that's the first time I've seen him intrested in a hen) and went to grab the hen, not chase her, just grab her, and the hen freaked out and ran away. I scolded Alfredo and flipped him over. He yelped like I was beating him, and screamed like a banshee. Apparently, this behavior began right as I left, and instead of me catching it, it went uncaught an blew up into a full blown crisis.

So where does this put us, besides a little lighter on chickens?

I built a pen out of cattle panels and placed Alfredo in it. He can't be trusted anymore and has gone to "jail". Feta, our other Pyrennees, from a different litter, hasn't done anything to deserve being penned up. She'll contiue to keep the critters away.

Alfredo is going to go on probation. I'll start placing chickens in his pen and retraining him. We're thinking about a shock collar so he'll associate trying to mouth his chickens with the worst pain he's ever felt. It seems cruel, but in the long run it'll save a lot of grief for Alfredo, the chickens, us, and our wallets. He's really smart, so I think he can be retrained. He's really headstrong, he's got centuries of independence bred into his spirit, but he aims to please. I willing to work with him.

1 comment:

  1. You guys have had the worst luck with your dogs! Have you considered a watch cat? I've got one I could give you--she can't attack the coyote, but she would drive him nuts with her meowing and caterwauling! Estela