I’ve realized something over the last couple of weeks – I will never be able to keep chickens in my back yard…..gone are any thoughts of garden raised eggs. Why? Because someone is a little too attached to little chicks for my liking and by attached I mean literally attached by the mouth!
Yes, my next door neighbors have been keeping (and I use the term keeping very loosely) chickens in their back yard. At least once a week the chicks have been popping through the fence and to my yard where they unexpectedly get scooped up by an over excited Cocker Spaniel. He must think that he has just found the most exciting and interactive squeak toy ever.
I was so disgusted and frazzled the first time it happened, it brought back horrible memories of the “bird incident” when the cat brought him an injured bird to play with. I freaked out when I saw him catch the chick….I tried everything I could think of to get the chick back from the dog, I ended up chasing around him around the garden with a broom in one hand and a big box in the other. I have no idea how I thought the box would help but I was panicked and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I eventually managed to corner the dog in our little mud room, between the back door and the door to the inside of the house but he still refused to swap the chick for a treat. I was out of ideas but I knew the chick was still alive and that I had to somehow get it out of the dog’s mouth. I was so frustrated that I shouted at him “you’d make a terrible gun dog, you’re supposed to want to give me the bird” (except with a lot more swear words)... and then it hit me….is it possible that he actually wants to give me the bird? I had nothing to lose at this point so I grabbed a huge wad of kitchen paper and put my hands up to take the chick out of his mouth. He just dropped it gently into my hands….I couldn’t believe it! He stood there wagging his little tail like crazy, absolutely cuffed to bits with himself while I stood there holding a slightly stunned but otherwise completely unharmed chick. I popped the chick back over the fence and it clucked, ran away to a group of other chick and started pecking the ground like nothing happened. I, on the hand, felt like I needed a stiff drink to try to calm back down!
The neighbors don’t seem to care about the chicks coming in; they came over once to catch a fully grown hen that had flown over the fence and didn’t seem worried of bothered by the fact that stalking the chicks is now my dogs favourite activity. I wish they would keep them in a proper enclosure so that they couldn’t come into the yard but I don’t see that changing any time soon. Meanwhile Boomer has caught at least 10 different (or the same?) chicks and I’ve gotten them back off him with various degrees of success…..there was the one time when he brought the chick in and let it loose in the house and I spent 10 minutes trying to simultaneously stop him from re-catching the chick and trying to shoo the chick back outside….
At least he isn’t killing the chicks, he’s just catching them, playing with them and then giving them to me….so it could be worse but after doing catch and release with 3 chicks in the last 24 hours I’m really over this game!