Chicks did not have a chance

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2003

I have a rat terrier dog that is a year and a half old. We have had it

since it was six weeks old. It is named Scout and I hand-fed it when it was a puppy and we love it to death. Scout is great at killing rats that might be hiding under an old building and she kills rabbits that would eat the garden and young budding trees.

Last week, Scout was barking excitedly at four in the morning down by the barn where we have the new chicks housed. I didn't pay much attention, as I was tired. My son Timmy's bed had broken in the night around 3 a.m. I complained to Tom how he should have fixed the bed as it had been squeaking. He argued back that the bed was a piece of junk that my mom had gotten secondhand when I was growing up. Tom was right this time. Still I was angry at having my sleep interrupted. I put Timmy in our bed and I went and slept in my daughter's room on the top bunk bed.

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The next morning, after having a quiet breakfast because we were not speaking to each other, Tom went to feed the chicks. He came upon an ugly sight. Our beloved rat terrier had slipped through a crack in the barn and made sport with the five-day-old multicolored chicks and killed 85 out of 100. Scout didn't eat them, but had grabbed each one and bit its wing. It must have been bam, dead, bam, dead. Fifteen of the chicks had escaped and hid outside.

I went into the house and ordered 100 more online, as I was raising these chicks for my daughter Mary's wedding dinner. I had to pay $40 extra for this new batch of 100 chicks, as they were ordered after May. These chickens are turning into a more expensive dinner I thought. Mary lives in Los Angeles and was home for the weekend. She felt awful about the dog killing the chicks, especially after the hard time I had last week picking them up at the Rochester post office and driving to three post offices before I arrived at the right one. We are all checking twice to keep the barn shut up tight to keep the remaining chicks alive. I don't blame the dog as she was just doing what her instincts told her to do.

When I was young, we had a puppy that got in the barn and killed 200 half-grown chicks that were being raised for winter dinners. My dad was livid and he got rid of the dog immediately. My son raises chicks too, and he had a puppy that wouldn't quit eating chickens. He had to get rid of the puppy, as he couldn't get him to quit killing them. I have hope for our little dog. She is smart. I only wish I had caught her right in the act of killing the chicks, then it would have been easier to discipline her. My new chicks won't be arriving for two weeks. The dog won't be getting near them.

Sheila Donnelly can be reached at 434-2233 or by e-mail at