Tag Archives: animals

The first attack on the homestead…

Back in November, around the fifth at roughly 11am, I was at the computer working on bills and heard my three free range hens start squawking up a storm. Thankfully my computer is right next to the back door. I opened up the door to yell at them (we’ve had some minor pecking issues), only to realize that one of the neighbor’s dogs were attacking them at the compost pile. I screamed a few obscenities at the dog at the top of my lungs. The dog took up over the hill, but at this point the chickens had all high tailed it into different areas of the property, which is mostly swamp and gulley.

I called the hubby and he rushed home from work. It took close to an hour and a half before all three birds were found. Thankfully, we lucked out and none were hurt. They’re in the coop for the afternoon until I can be outside with them while they’re out as the animal control officer won’t be available to talk to the owners and see if the dog has been located until this evening. She did let us know that neither dog to that address has been registered. So, even through she can’t do a thing about the attack on the birds per say, she can fine them pretty heftily for the lack of registration.

On the plus side, at least we know that all three of them know to high tail it. I’ve heard too many stories of birds that just stand there and get eaten. But on that same note, it wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t. I kept an eye out for him to snap a photo of him on our property, but never saw him after that. He’s not normally lose, either. It looks like he snapped out of his collar.

Apparently he was out for about 8 hours lose. The attack happened at 11am, and around 4pm I decided that the girls should come out to stretch their legs and scrounge. I stayed outside pretty much the entire time with them and our border collie (Belle) on her leash as she was freaked out about her chickens going missing earlier (she’s super protective of them). When my hubby went to come down the road on his way back from work, apparently the dog attacked the truck. Belle had been barking and snarling every once and a while, but I figured it was a combination of smelling the dog from earlier and having the crap jumped out of her by a squirrel. Hubby called to let me know that the dog was still loose. Needless to say, Belle and I backed the girls into a corner by the compost bin and I grabbed the nearby pitchfork just in case. Hubby wasn’t able to finish coming down the road until another neighbor (thankfully in a vehicle) was being harassed by the dog. Once hubby got home, he took Belle in and called local dispatch to let animal control know and we got the girls in the coop.

When animal control showed up, he chased her car down the road before going back and sitting on his property. Needless to say, she was planning on having a hell of a talk with the owners. Hubby’s going to call and follow up today, even though normally that’s not the norm around here. We just want to make sure things have been taken care of.

The scary thing is that this is a highly aggressive dog (the animal control lady couldn’t even get out of her blazer to approach him with the pole) who lives at the same residence as a child. It also seems like there are possibly signs of abuse from what the control officer said. I’m nine months pregnant and expecting our first child. I’ll be damned if I’m going to be afraid to walk down my own road. They also have a huskie and the two dogs don’t get along at all, which is why this one was tied up outside for 8+ hours. You better believe any slight infraction will be called in from here on out. We try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I’m done.

I’m so thankful everyone made it through okay! (And that I didn’t go into labor dealing with all of this…)

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Since I’m lacking on writing time today between midterms and chores, I leave you with this wonderful video that’s a great summary on chicken farming.

 

The History of the Chicken

When any small fledgling homestead begins the pursuit of animal husbandry the first animal that comes to mind is that of the chicken. While we’re not looking to breed livestock, nor to slaughter them ourselves, we are looking at raising egg layers. While Joe has had previous experience up close and personal with chickens (go ahead, ask him about the odd spot in his eye), I have no experience with the fowl except for cooking and eating them. So, as with any other venture I think seriously about, I’ve begun researching everything that is chicken.

For starters, I never really thought about the fact that even chickens were at one point a wild fowl that had to be domesticated to end up where they are now. Like many other animals that have been altered due to selective breeding through domestication (such as cows and pigs), chickens have undergone their own “camouflage” that separates them from their ancient ancestors, but only minutely so. The real reason we don’t see them as ever having been wild is that they’ve been domesticated since roughly 3000 BCE!

The red junglefowl is the to have supposedly started it all. Common belief holds that this cute little bugger was domesticated in India for the purpose of food, decorative uses (feathers), and entertainment (cock fighting). Some researchers place the rise in domesticated chickens to various areas throughout the same time period. China, Malaysia, Thialand, and other areas of Southeast Asia are mentioned as possible starting points for the long history of breeding the birds. The concept quickly spread into Egypt, eventually moving into other farming regions throughout the world, and being brought to the Americas by British, French, and Dutch settlers.

It’s interesting to see that, for all intents and purposes, these creatures are very similar to those still found wild and roaming around today. The differences between the current wild red junglefowl and modern chickens have more to do with size and less to do with coloring. Domesticated chickens, as has happened with other domesticated animals, have become larger in general size than their wild contemporaries. A lot of this has to do with the selective breeding that goes on in animal husbandry. This is the same breeding selection that create the white chickens that Romans used to use for sacrifices and ornamental chickens that the Chinese breed for beauty.