The Massacre in the Chickenhouse
We had hatched our largest brood of chickens - 14 lovely little chicks. We were told that such a large number wouldn't hatch, when we had 15 eggs being incubated by a hen. After 21 days of singleminded and dedicated incubation by the mother hen, the chicks emerged one by one. The mother hen was aggressively protective of her brood of chicks. We moved them to an enclosure in front of our house, that we built using fishing net. That way, we could keep an eye on them and ensure their safety. A few weeks ago, when the Spectacled Cobra started hanging around the house, it was once seen near this chicken enclosure. (See pictures/video of the cobra encounter). When the cobra was packed off, we thought that the worst was behind us. The chicks were now over a month old and growing really well. There were some lovely coloured ones in the flock.
We were away in Bangalore for over a week, for Good Friday and Easter. We were supposed to return to the farm on the Monday after Easter. But I had fallen ill and we had to postpone our trip by a day. When we arrived here on Tuesday, some horrible news awaited us. The previous evening, a dog from the neighbourhood had come there and it got into the chicken enclosure by tearing the fishing net. It then went about systematically killing the chickens one by one. He didn't even pause to eat the ones he had killed. When Ravi our farm worker heard the commotion and came running over, the dog had just about caught the mother hen too. He managed to chase the dog away. But the damage was already done. We were a dozen chicks short on the rolls. We have been without a dog for the past couple of months and that had emboldened other dogs and cats to wander around our place freely. The chicks were housed right in front of our house and as long as we were home, no dog would wander that close to the house. Our delayed return to the farm provided the murderous dog an opportune evening to carry out the massacre. The poor mother hen now has the two surviving chicks with her. We are planning to build a more secure home for the chicken now. And as for the dog.... a fate worse than death awaits him if he crosses my path again ( I know.... that's an empty threat. Ironically, that dog was born on our farm to Frisky, one of our previous dogs.)