Farm Disaster Month

20170308_130132We’ve had more excitement than I’d like this month. The big March winds last week flipped the goat shed over onto its roof. Nobody was hurt, thankfully, but we had to do some crazy maneuvering with the jeep to pull it back over. A few minutes later it flipped right over again. This motivated us  to move it further behind the barn and stake it down on two corners so hopefully we’ve eliminated that problem for the future.

20170316_155448

Old Silver

I’ve been sadly watching one of the old hens gradually decline. I’m assuming this was just a natural function of old age because nobody else was affected. Silver was moving slower all the time and finally spent her days sitting alone in quiet corners with her head tucked between her shoulders. My heart ached for her but I did not want to figure out how to hasten the process so I just checked on her every day, expecting one day to find her still and expired.

Here is where the sadder part of the story comes in. Yesterday I let the dogs out for an hour of fresh air after being cooped up all morning while we were away at church. I thought I heard a faint beeping behind the music I was listening to. I finally roused myself to check on it and I  discovered that Fionn had exceeded the perimeter of his wireless fence and was a good hundred feet beyond it, somewhere.

I bundled up and hurried outside to find him and went first to the goats to make sure he wasn’t bothering them. I opened the door to peek into the chicken coop and there he was, cornered and guilty, standing over a bloody chicken! I chased him home and locked him up in his crate after screaming at him furiously.

I returned to the chickens and found Silver dead and Goldy mortally injured. The rest of the chickens were huddled in fear out in the goat shed. There were feathers everywhere. I put Goldy out of her misery and buried them both out in the field.

This is really hard for me. As horrified as I was, I can’t really blame Fionn for following his instincts when he discovered he could somehow reach those chickens. I was sure that if I kept the batteries fresh in the radio collars I wouldn’t have to worry about the dogs getting out to the barn. I don’t know what went wrong, and we aren’t sure how he got past the electric fence as well. If the dog could do it, so could coyotes or foxes.

My idyllic farm life has suddenly been disrupted by the realities of danger and risk, and it is really upsetting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About bluestempond

Hobby farmer living at Bluestem Pond in Michigan.
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13 Responses to Farm Disaster Month

  1. Lynda says:

    I am so sorry. It is bad enough when it is the neighbors dog(s), but when it is your own it hurts deep. Sending hugs. ❤

    • bluestempond says:

      Thanks. I’m trying to toughen up.

      • Lynda says:

        Just read your comment to Patsy and have to agree about the terriers…
        Noodle is a TERRor-ier and he is not allowed in the back without a muzzle anymore. Bless his pointed little head. He and Fredrik (my gander) get into it at the fenceline and Fredrik always gets his bill torn up.

  2. Patsy Porco says:

    I’m so sorry for you. What kind of dog is Fionn? Maybe he was just playing with the chickens and accidentally killed them?

  3. michiganme says:

    Nancy, our dog would occasionally cross the underground fence…especially if she was running and excited, but once they cross, the pain is over and done. Interesting about the regular electric fence though. I’m sorry to hear about your chickens, that would be a shocking discovery.

    • Patsy Porco says:

      Don’t dogs fear the return trip across the electric fence when they’re calm and not inclined to race excitedly across it like they did when they were escaping?

    • bluestempond says:

      The wireless fence beeps when they get close and theoretically begins and continues shocking them as long as they are beyond the perimeter. Maybe theory and practice are out of synch.

  4. Patsy Porco says:

    I’m sorry about your chickens. And I feel sorry for Fionn, too. He’ll never be allowed out unsupervised again.

  5. Ann Coleman says:

    I’m so sorry! I can only imagine how traumatic that must have been.

  6. I am so sorry to learn of such a sad day on the farm.

  7. bluestempond says:

    Thanks. It’s nice to have friends out there to sympathize.

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