We lost our first hen.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by earth_toes, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. earth_toes

    earth_toes Songster

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    Story goes:
    I woke up early on Saturday morning to let the chicks out and feed my dogs. I let the dogs out (LIKE I'VE DONE FOR 11 WEEKS) like normal and went about my morning chores making coffee and what-not. My shepherd has always had a 'prey' bark since he was a puppy and my heart sank when i heard it through the kitchen window. I looked out my kitchen window, which overlooks our entire back yard, corner to corner and saw the shepherd laying down with feathers in his mouth. I immediately ran outside to see what happened and saw our Maxine (my only cream brabanter) laying on her side in the yard. My shepherd did not want to give her up and proceeded to bring her in the house before i could get her away from him. With the crate command he dropped her and I immediately picked her up and took her into my bedroom where my husband was still sleeping. I woke him up quickly, crying my eyes out and took Maxine back outside. I checked her over, no blood, no gore at all, but she was not moving her feet or her wings, only her neck was moving and she was holding her mouth and eyes open. No sound, no obvious signs of injury, no obvious signs she was in any pain. I had no idea what to do, this being my first experience with losing a hen i was devastated, especially since the dogs have had no issues in the yard with the hens since they were brought home. My theory is (since i didn't see it actually happen) our shepherd was 'herding' them back home, when Maxine wouldn't either go where he wanted her to be or she got flighty, which triggered the drive to pounce and shake. Without any blood or any kind of puncture wounds I lean more towards the herding than a 'kill drive'. Our shepherd has gotten rabbits before and does nothing but 'play' with them, so he thinks he is, but can you blame him knowing ALL dog toys sound like an injured animal?!
    So, i held her, held her until she closed her eyes, took her last breath and passed quickly. Was no more than 15 minutes after I found her she crossed the bridge. I felt hopeless, stupid for thinking they were safe, angry my 7 year old dog showed his *ss the morning I was to have company come over to help finish the coop/run setup, and just sad, unbelievably sad. We buried her in front of the only pine tree we have on the South side of our property. Being someone who does not handle death well at all, this was an eye opener for me. I made sure i took the time to hold her until she passed, and until she was buried, however much i didn't want to, i forced myself to be part of the end of life process. Especially when i know this will not be the last time i'll have to do this.
    Moving forward, we've moved the hens to the front yard to free range out of our fenced area during the weekends, while/and only while we are home. During the week they will continue to share the backyard, however, i will be present at all times they will be co-mingling. I cannot fault the shepherd for doing what he's been bred to do, however this is totally preventable and i blame it all on myself getting too comfortable with their relationship.
    I've had a huge learning experience this weekend and wanted to share with everyone that it's not easy, i don't think it will ever be easy, to bury a pet and watch it all happen. But, if i can help someone with the process who has never experienced it, like myself, ill do it 100 times over knowing i can share my experience and help with the overwhelming feeling of 'it's all my fault'.

    Thanks for reading, Namaste.

    Send me a dream and let me know what it's like. ("Maxine" - 6/15/2019):hit
     

    Attached Files:

  2. BirdsBeesTrees

    BirdsBeesTrees Crowing

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    I'm so sorry... :hugs
     
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  3. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

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    I am so very sorry for your loss. Bear hugs! :hugs
     
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  4. A.M. Eggs

    A.M. Eggs Songster

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    I am so sorry for your loss! It is always heartbreaking to lose a friend(the chicken). I have lost so many chickens that I loved. I even lost an entire flock!

    Every time one has passed, I take careful consideration as to why she or he died. If it was an animal, I find a way to remove the predator's threat. If it was a disease, I buy the antidote and keep it on hand. If it was the heat, I put up more fans and find more ventilation. Each death is a heartbreak as well as a lesson. :hugs:hugs:hugs
     
  5. Mixed flock enthusiast

    Mixed flock enthusiast Crowing

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    Oh, what a beautiful hen and sad story! So sorry that you lost her!
     
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  6. earth_toes

    earth_toes Songster

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    Thank you all for the support. :hugs
     
  7. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land

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    I am sorry about the loss please do not blame the dog as there are no punctures it crosses my mind he probably wanted to get her back where she belonged inadvertently
    killing her with shock ... our GSD the only dog we had safe with the birds was locked in with peeps in a wading pool with wire around it after an hour we found her in there, she had killed one that escaped the pool picking it up
     
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  8. earth_toes

    earth_toes Songster

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    Thank you, i cant blame him, he's really, really good at his job he's been bred to do, herd. I used to live on a property with horses and he'd bring them back into the stalls (home) every day. It's upsetting but it's only nature, and natural for him. All of it is a learning curve but I'm just thankful i didn't have pieces of her to pick up and then a kill drive to break out of him. He's my baby, a little hard headed at times but there is no replacing 'Tippett' the Shepherd.
     
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  9. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land

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    We lost our girl at 17 my bud till she crossed
     
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  10. earth_toes

    earth_toes Songster

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    TippToe (as he's affectionately called most days), is 8 this year. Been with me since 8 weeks through all the thick and thin of my life. He's going no where until i have to let him pass that bridge too.
     
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