We had a sad Sunday two weeks ago.
There was a bit of an accident. Our perfectly lovely neighbor turned her back on her perfectly lovely dogs at just the wrong moment, and they rushed with unerring canine savvy through the neighborhood, crashing into our backyard and into the middle of our chickens.
There is a reason chickens like to be in groups, and it isn't only that they enjoy each other's company, although I think they do. The other reason is survival. As in, while a dog manages to grab one chicken the other six scatter and hide. J chased the dogs away before they could do much hunting for the other chickens, but even so, I have to give them credit. Chickens may not have much in the way of brains, but they hide very, very well. I reflected on this often while searching for chickens in the pouring rain of that day.
We eventually found the six scattered chickens, but poor Dot, our beautiful silver-laced Wyandotte, had met her demise as soon as she met the dogs. At least it was obviously quick-- no lingering. We were all upset, of course, and sensitive N eulogized through his tears, "She was our best chicken!" She will be missed. Although, not, apparently, by the other chickens, who carry on without seeming to notice the difference.
It was Father's Day. When I called my Dad, I mentioned our misfortune with our chickens. Dad, who was raised on a farm in Idaho, informed me that all you can do with a dog that kills chickens is shoot it. Somehow I think trusting my neighbor's promises that she won't let the dogs get loose again is the better option in my case. We don't even own a gun. But I can still hear my dad insisting, "I'm telling you, they won't stop! You have to shoot them."
At that moment, I had the rather disorienting feeling that my life is rather bizarre.