Sunday, July 20, 2008

a little harvest and a little drama

i braided about forty pounds of onions. they are hanging in the same room with the garlic. tristan helped--mostly running interference between kassi and toly.
kassi and toly have been fighting like cats and dogs. toly is in her weight class and is probably stronger. kassi has agility and guile on her side. they both cry and wine when they get the lessor of the current bout. when i get after them they start hugging and laughing. tristan mostly stays out of the actual fights. he is several weight classes above them both.

i then cut up about five pounds of onions to go into the dehydrator--not the solar one. this is where tristans help really shined. his nimble little fingers peeling onions left and right. when they are done they'll only weigh a few ounces. they end up sweet like candy--toly loves them.

we had a couple of dogs hunt and kill several of our hens today. we are down to nine layers from eighteen. i am still so angry about it. when it all started i ran and grabbed my 12 gage pump shot gun and a few shells.

i put three shells in my pocket and held one in my hand. i walked around the farm and saw nothing. i threw the gun in the bed of my truck and drove to our neighbors. i asked if he saw anything. we chatted and i went home. i grabbed my gun and walked through the backyard. tabitha asked "where are you going?" i told her i was looking for those dogs. then i saw them. they froze i shoved my shell in the shotgun and it wouldn't load. i had to click the trigger first for some reason. by the time i had a loaded gun they were bolting toward the road. i raised the gun and trailed them. they were getting dangerously close to the road so i aimed low and shot for the larger dog.

he rolled into a ball and started yelping. the other dog (bull terrier) turned and ran back to his malamute buddy. it got up and hobbled away holding one leg off the ground. as they ran down the road it took every ounce of self control to keep me from shooting them both then and there. even if it weren't against the law shooting into the road is a really bad idea. most of the dead chickens were going to culled this fall but our pullets won't be laying until then and we'll be low on eggs all the rest of the summer.

the dogs were obviously stalking our farmstead all night because tabitha said that our dogs were barking the entire time. boca who is waiting to go to the sale barn has two injuries on her front legs probably from being scared by those two dogs. arrgh i wish i'd have gotten them both. although they'll likely never be back. i just would like to exact my losses from their hides. i'm not very forgiving of malicious transgressions and this was just sport for them.

those eggs fed my family and i'm a bit overly defensive of them--especially with a really pregnant wife.


Ron said...

Yeah, I wouldn't hesitate to put a dog down if messing with our chickens or pigs. I would compost it, and never mention it again. I hope that many of my neighbors out here would do the same.

Fortunately, Neighbor had 3 of his 4 free-ranging dogs eat some of his chickens and turkeys, and he put 3 of the offenders down before I had to. Last time they came over here, I shot them in the butt with a BB gun so they would go back home.

Dogs may be man's best friend, but certainly not a chicken's!


R. Sherman said...

You did the right thing.

BTW, I cannot imagine a rural Missouri prosecutor charging you with a felony for protecting your animals, even if you did shoot into a road way. It would be like an intruder retreating to a road to take potshots at you and you just having to stand there and take it.

I'd gladly take that case to a jury.


Laura said...

aww so sorry you all have been having a rough go lately!

mamabug said...

I think defending your farm and family, including livestock is ample reason to put a dog down. Damn people who don't take care of their animals anyway - a responsible person doesn't let a dog run wild. I think Ron has the right approach.
Sorry about your chickens. Could you get ones that are ready to lay to replace them? Or do you have to raise them up from chicks?
btw, the photo of Toly in your previous post was beautiful. What a smiley boy!

karl said...

ron thanks for the encouragement. i feel the same way. if my dog were out killing someones livestock i'd expect them to kill it.

r. sherman, i appreciate the offer and support.

laura, thanks..

donna, thanks the pullets will come of age fairly soon. we'll just have to stop selling and giving eggs away.

uncle matt said...

Whereas I hate the idea of putting any dog down, whether it's because of the irresponsibilty of the owner, or a misfortunate accident, I do believe it's your right and responsibilty to protect your family and livlihood (livestock). In Montana, it's perfectly legal to shoot a dog even for just harrassing livestock. I'm pretty confident most rural areas have the same allowances.
It's unfortunate because even the best dogs get excited around any animal. But, do what you gotta do.

Anonymous said...

We had one of our dogs shot by a neighbor because the dog was running his cattle.
The farmer had called as he thought it was one of our dogs. All my dad said was 'Make it clean'.

I probably wouldn't have understood at the time - being young, but I do agree with the farmer for his actions.

Wendy said...

What is it with people's pets running around killing people's caged animals? I had a rabbit in a hutch in my FENCED back yard. These two neighborhood dogs squeezed under the fence, broke open the rabbit hutch and killed him. I don't have a gun to shoot them, but they were in my back yard, and if I had had a gun, they'd have been dead dogs.

Thing is, my rabbit wasn't the first neighborhood animal these dogs killed - and the owner knew, AND had been prosecuted before for the same thing. If they had been my dogs marauding through the neighborhood, I'd have done what needed to be done myself, the first time it happened. I wouldn't have waited until the Animal Control officer took me to court. I love my dogs, but my chickens feed us and the rabbit was a full-bred German Angora - a fiber rabbit, and worth thousands of dollars over his expected lifetime. He was only nine months old.

I hope there isn't a next time for you.

KatieKate said...

'Make it clean.' I like that.

New reader, similar life and intentions... though you are much further along than we are.

I'm down 4 chickens myself this season... 2 to dogs, 2 to mystery. It will put a damper on our eggs come November when this batch starts laying.

edifice rex said...

I would not count on those dogs not coming back, karl. Those that like to kill can be rather insistant. I'd still keep an eye out and I wish you better shooting next time. There is no excuse for people letting their animals go out and destroy other people's property.

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