You’ve all heard of ‘free-range chickens’, but have you heard of free-range dogs? I’ve never really thought of them like that, but the dogs in our community could be categorized as free-range dogs. In the 10 months we’ve lived here I’ve not seen a dog on a leash yet. I’ve shared many fun antics of our neighbor down the road’s lovable mutt, Brewskie. Our closest neighbors, Merle and Denise, have 3 yappy ‘rat dogs’. Those 3 stop by everyday to see if there are any food scraps that Brewskie turned his nose up at.
If I were a dog, I’d love living in this neighborhood. You’re free to roam and come home when you’re tired, bored or hungry. You can chase cars and ATVs then take a dip in the lake to cool off. There are annoying squirrels a plenty or numerous grouse and turkeys to chase. Never once do you have to be held captive in your house or have a noose around your neck in the yard. Yes, this neighborhood is a haven for dogs.
When we got our chickens we knew bears, hawks and vehicles may pose a problem. We introduced Brewskie to the girls (hens) with caution. Sure, he rummages through their coop to see if any of the scraps are palatable. He ruffles their feathers a tad but he showed protective instincts. What we hadn’t anticipated was the new dog (Haley) on the block being so destructive. One afternoon, when we arrived back home from an afternoon away, we noticed alot of feathers strewn here and there. Mike stopped by to inform us that at least one of our chickens became lunch for Haley, a frisky, wild-eyed yellow lab.
With a heavy heart, Lance walked down to talk to Haley’s owner. The guy offered to replace any chickens we lost. He expressed remorse for his dog’s actions. He even told us to shoo her away with a bee-bee gun. Funny thing is, we had planned on welcoming them to the neighborhood with a paper bag full of FRESH eggs. Now I’m thinking that’s not such a good idea… I’m thankful our neighbor didn’t turn out to be a jerk (dogs rule, chickens die). I’m even more thankful for my husband’s conflict resolution approach. If left to stew about the incident I may have thrown eggs (store-bought) at them when they drove by 😉
Free-range chickens + free-range dogs = potential problem. Lance has plans for fencing in the hens. It’s a bummer because happy hens means an egg a day for us. Oh well, life (and death) happens. Maybe our chickens will go poop all over their porch and I’ll have to go scoop the poop on down the road. Life is meant to be free-range for us all, just don’t cross the line or step on your neighbors toes and we can all live happily ever after.