My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?

A visiting dog hurt my chicken!

15 Comments

Well, the dog didn’t actually hurt my chicken. Helen Hen did it to herself but I will blame the dog because this is my story.

When I read other blogs about chickens getting hurt or killed, the culprits are usually foxes, hawks or visiting (either invited or uninvited) dogs. So when I look at that list, I am thinking that if anything is likely to hurt my chickens, it would be the visiting dog.

So when a visitor came last weekend with a very big, young dog, I decided to put the chickens back in the run to keep them safe. For some reason I thought it would be ok to let the dog outside (under my very watchful eye) to see how the chickens and the dog reacted. After all, what can happen with the chickens safely in the coop? This dog will be a regular visitor and I don’t always want him in the house when he comes to visit.

Well, I didn’t expect what happened next.

The dog went outside and looked at the chickens. As soon as the two Barnevelders saw the dog (Hannah was in the hen house) they squawked, flew against the run flapping their wings and went crazy. When the dog saw this, he got very excited and lunged at the coop (I think he was trying to play as he is still a puppy, albeit a huge one). This made the chickens squawk louder, flap their wings harder and go crazier.

I screamed and the visitor grabbed the dog by the collar and took him back into the house. When I checked on the chickens to see if they were ok from their dog ordeal, I noticed Helen had blood dripping down her face. How on earth could this have happened?

I looked around the run to see what could have caused it. Then I saw that they had flown into the corner of the run in such a panic that they had popped the pins that held the wire in place and a sharp bit must have cut Helen Hen somewhere on her head. There was blood splattered on the outside of the hen house and all through the pine shavings on the floor inside the house.

Well, that was last weekend. I couldn’t write about it then as I was too upset. She is healing nicely and is happy again and I am very relieved. She had a small rip at the base of her comb on her head and she stopped laying for three days. But all is back to normal in our hen house.

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15 thoughts on “A visiting dog hurt my chicken!

  1. So glad she is okay! I know this situation well.

  2. I’m so sorry for your ordeal…I had a similar one (it’s in my post, Meet the Girls at http://cooppoop.wordpress.com) and the whole experience is traumatic for chickens and their human caretakers!! I’m relieved everything is back to normal. It does take a few days for everyone to calm down!!

  3. I almost didn’t read this post because of the title. I was terrified what I’d find. But I’m glad I read it, it’s a good warning. And thank you for not posting it until you knew Helen was okay or you’d have had all of us worrying like crazy about her.

    Whew, that was a close call.

    Any idea what you’ll do when this dog next visits? How do we chicken owners socialise our birds with other animals? I’m hoping you find the secret before I’m faced with the same dilemma.

    • Hi Laura,
      One of the hardest things for me is when I read other people’s blogs and I come across bad news stories or pictures of injuries or dead chickens. It scares me to think that these could be mine. I try so hard to keep them safe.
      When this dog comes again it will be on a leash when it goes outside so that it can’t go anywhere near that side of the house. And I will always have then shut in the run if he is visiting.

  4. I have 2 Jack Russells and they are terrified of the chickens. So much so, that if the chickens are allowed into the veg garden for some “weeding”, the dogs are the bottom of the pack, next up are our enormous cats, then the chickens have top spot! Load of clucking divas, if you ask me…

  5. I’m so glad everything is OK! Two of my littlest chicks died the other night. My son thinks it was because the temps dropped and they were huddling so tight around the lamp that the two little ones suffocated. So sad….

    And….we just got a new neighbor who has a new dog…part wolf…so this is going to be complicated, but your post was an excellent warning.

  6. Pingback: I am now paranoid about dogs and my chickens « My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

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