Monday, May 3, 2010


Tonight this is the view from where I sit as I write this post. 

Over my dandelion littered lawn, past my pecking hens, under the old apple tree with the swing, down the little hill where the herbs are planted to where our first pig sty was, under another old apple tree, right by the bee hives and a bit beyond the huge tire holes where the fire truck got stuck when my husband had a brush fire without a permit, there is a field.  Beyond the field is woods and trees and poison ivy.  Through the woods is a pond.  Not a big one, maybe 12 acres and it's kind of swampy, but a pond nonetheless.  I love this piece of land.  I own it.  I can open up my back door and take off running and not hit anything or anyone else's land until my breath burns in my chest.  It's not perfect.  I'm closer to the highway (we say interstate in Maine, but I'm not sure if everyone does that?)  then I'd like to be and can hear it and I wish I couldn't.  But other than that I am happy here. 

No one bothers me.  I have one neighbor on one side and I'm sure they talk about the rampant pigs and the goats being chased by dump trucks and they've had to call me to rescue an adolescent rooster from their shrubbery, but things are generally pretty calm here. 

This morning something happened that sullied my funky little utopia.  I'm sure few people would think it a big deal,  though I did call law enforcement.  This morning someone's dog came onto my piece of land and while I put together breakfast for my children he chased and killed three of my chickens.  Now my chickens don't have names and we don't knit sweaters for them.  But we do keep their house clean, feed them good food, water them daily and let them have free range of the entire property.  In turn they eat bugs and give us eggs to eat and to sell.  I love having them.  Sometimes foxes and other predators come into the yard and once in a while we lose chickens to them.  This makes me angry and I hate it, but I know the foxes are eating the chickens and taking them back to their babies and although I don't want them to do it and do everything to avoid that happening, it is somehow easier to take then having a domesticated animal kill for pleasure and leave the birds broken and wasted, just to move on to the next one. 

I caught him in the act of chasing down a fourth bird and was able to run him off.  As soon as I went inside, he came back and grabbed another.  If I'd had a gun, I would have shot him, but I was able to kick him and save the chicken.  The owner was notifed by police where her dog was and she came to my house mouthing her apologies even as she drove down my driveway.   She offered to compensate me for the birds but I refused.   All I asked for is that this doesn't happen again.  I know that she can't really promise that, even though she did. 

I just feel smaller somehow from this.  Should I cage my chickens?  Should I have them at all?  Should I have demanded more from the owner?  Should I have demanded more from the police?  

As I dug three tiny little graves, I felt such a sense of waste and sadness at the futility of it all.  I don't have the time or energy to figure out the bigger picture and I really don't have time to get angry.  I'm just sad. 



  1. Do they have a leash law where you are? I really would be so upset if this happened to any of my girls. Thing is if he attacked your chickens what else would he have attacked if the chickens werent there? If you dont have a gun, definitely get a bb gun. You should have some protection.

  2. Oh, Lisa, that sucks. :(
    I'm so sorry you had to go through that and there's nothing I can say that won't sound trite. Only that I'm sorry and I hope that dog stays the hell away and I'm glad the owner wasn't a total asshole (pardon my french) because I was getting ready to hear you tell us that she was. And no amount of money will make up for it, you just didn't want it to happen in the first place. I hope tomorrow is a new day for you.


  3. So sorry to hear this Lisa. It is sad to know what happened to the chickens, but I think you handled the situation very well. You do have some beautiful property there by the way. (I keep forgetting to say "interstate" now that I'm back in Maine, no wonder people look at me funny when I'm giving directions and tell them to get back on the "expressway".) ~Lili

  4. Oh, Lisa. I'm so sorry. That's awful.
    We keep ours penned up most of the time because of our neighbors dogs (but we don't have privacy as you do - I'd be extremely upset).
    I also keep a gun handy for the pesky Mr. Fox.
    I hope nothing like this happens again. :0(

  5. I am so sorry that happened, it is really a difficult thing to get over because it leaves you wondering and anxious that it will happen again. The owner has been warned, she knows her dog is a problem and a chicken killer now, there is no excuse for the dog to ever be on the loose again. (And yes I DO think a person should be able to guarantee their dog stays on their property or they shouldn't have one). So sorry for your loss.

  6. Sorry. I understand. We had a dog take out our entire flock two winters ago and I still feel sick about it. From time to time we do experience a raccoon taking one....I now am the owner of a huge golden retriever that doesn't let anything get close to my ladies.

  7. How awful! We are all so sorry here. I am glad, however, that it wasn't your goats too. Maybe the lady will keep better control of her dog. It can be done if people just would. Maybe you need a Livestock Guardian Dog. Lots of goat people have them. At any rate, I hope you feel better soon.

  8. Lisa, I am so sad to hear of the passing of your chickens...especially in such an obscene way. Every animal has a right to life. Dogs (and I love dogs) should be fenced in or on a leash always. That woman needs to be more responsible. I am sad for you. Hugs, Kathleen

  9. Oh, that ticks me off also. And it's really bad when they kill goats and their babies. I had that happen one time to a friend's goats - I happened upon the four dogs killing a goat and saw the other bodies strewn all over the paddock. I hate it when people let their dogs run around and do this kind of stuff.