Friday, 1 March 2013

Third strike

I came home from a concert on Wednesday night to find out that my chickens had been attacked by a pair of escaped Staffies.  The neighbours were home and heard a  noise but weren't able to easily break up the dogs or get them away from the chickens.  Piecing the story together here's how each of the chickens fared in the foray.

Fortunately the cluck monster had re-emerged earlier in the week and thus she managed to remain undetected in her lair, brooding away in a dark corner.  Hetty employed her camouflage brown feathers and hid under a miniature copse at the back of the pen.  Gonzo must have had her whits about her.  She's white so wouldn't have avoided detection by the dogs but must have been fast enough to outrun and out-manoeuvre if not the dogs, then at least her sister Wheelie.  

Wheelie wore the worst of the attack.  This was her third experience in the jaws of a dog and she has survived the previous two relatively unscathed.  Her dodgy eye leaves her vulnerable and unable to judge distance and perceive predators sufficiently.  She has suffered badly with one deep puncture wound on her back and another shallower one on the other side.  Next to the large gouge is an area that has been ripped open down to the muscle and fat.

Wheelie with a comfrey poultice on the first night
I prepared myself for the worst and left her in a basket inside overnight to keep her warm and safe, waiting to see how she was travelling in the morning.  Surprisingly she's now lasted two nights since the attack although her breathing remains fairly laboured.  She seems to be improving and more alert each day and we have been syringe feeding her water with poultry multivitamins.  This afternoon I cleaned out her wound and was surprised to find how deep it was.  There was a fair amount of gunk in there (but no pus) so hopefully she will continue to improve now that it's been cleaned properly.  I've made her up some bran porridge for tomorrow morning and put her in the basket in the cage with the other chickens tonight for some company.

Wheelie's wound.  There's a cotton ball covering the large puncture wound


  1. Hi
    Just checking your blog and I thought I would let you know that we are having a charity 'Open Garden' on 16 and 17th March. Raising money for Lions Club to purchase a 'Flux Walker' for an 8 year old Bayside Boy. Entry will be $5 and refreshments and plant sales.
    Pleas check out my blog to see details.
    The place is much lusher than it was in November and there's quite a few new plants and landscaping.

  2. Omg, I'm so sorry to read this. Poor Wheelie. We had a similar experience when our very first runner ducks were ripped like this by a stray dog. Can the other chickens get to her though? I have found that as friendly as chickens can be, they are naturally drawn to pecking anything red. Any blood, tear, spot, or wound that is trying to heal on one chicken can become the target in a pecking game for the others. The fact that as a bird, she's not died of shock yet is a very good sign. If you keep that wound dry and clean I am sure it will heal over if it's just missing flesh. Sounds gory, but flesh wounds can heal surprisingly well, even if leaving an odd shape or 'dent'. You are doing a fantastic job of caring for her, just watch the others cannot get near her to peck her wounds. Please keep us posted on her progress? I shall be thinking about her now, and hoping she gets better soon. *big hugs* Jacqui

  3. Aw poor poor chook - and shame on those neighbours who let their dogs loose so freely. I saw you put that it was down to muscle and fat? surprisingly some chickens can heal from that!! I'm hoping the best for her xxx Keep us updated? :)

  4. Thanks for your kind thoughts. Unfortunately the night I put her out with her sisters she died without getting her bran porridge. Her wound turned out to be deeper than I thought. Although I cleaned it out that day it was too late and too big a wound for her. She put up a good fight lasting two days with that deep a wound. Hubby buried her while I was at work the next day and told me that all the other girls lined up at the fence next to where he was burying her and paid their respects. Even the cat came out to say goodbye.

  5. Oh what a sad story - I am so sorry this happened to Wheelie. Our chooks range freely all week, but at weekends there is a huge increase in walkers with their dogs enjoying the countryside here and although our land is fenced off, a dog can easily get in and attack the chickens. On a couple of occasions, it has become clear that an owner has lost their dog and thankfully I was outside and was able to round up the chickens and keep them safe. Thank you for sharing this story - it is exhausting when these things happen, so please be kind to yourselves.

    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts. I hadn't realised just how exhausting it would be to lose her. She was the naughty one of the flock but even so I'm still a little upset about her passing away. We live opposite a park and unfortunately we are in an area where a lot of people own dogs but don't care to look after them. Almost daily we see a dog roaming the streets. Luckily they're usually distracted by the open space in the park and the dogs in the yards over there and so bipass our house. Once this rain has eased off and the ground dries out we're planning to improve the fence for the chickens.


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