Both Scottie and Spin got their rabies shots today ($30). I had a pretty rough week-end. I cut several 6 foot posts for the house. I have to strip the bark and then seal them with something, dig the holes, and move some bags of concrete to set the posts (420 ft down the road I partially cleared – this will not be trivial for each 80 lb bag of quickrete. And then I will have to harvest enough rain water to mix the quickrete and rocks, and set the posts with a level (they won’t be exactly plumb because the trunks of the trees (while pretty straight) have some projections where branches were, etc. Anyway, chainsaw stopped working…have to tighten up the chain.
While I was out there trying to work on the chainsaw, my dogs ran off and started barking intensely. I realized that they had hunted something. The barking continued for about 15 min., while I tried to find a path back to where they were (down the hog trails which are overgrown at about waist level). Well, I finally get there, and it was a big buzzard that was still alive but its wings were injured. I called the dogs off, then chased the buzzard down (it couldn’t fly). Finally, I caught it, and lifted it up under my arm, to carry it around. Well, about halfway back (15 min. walk), the buzzard turns around and starts to peck me on the chest, so I let go, and it runs off into some thorns and the dogs follow it. I call off the packleader and another dog, walk back to camp, pick up some leashes, and go back (everyone left is still barking). By the time I get back, the buzzard was still alive, but its neck was probably broken. So, I pick him up, clean out the dog crate, and set him in it to rest, hoping that he is simply in shock, and will get better. He died about 1 hour later.
So, I start trying to pluck the feathers from the bird (this is not easy)…and while I am doing this, my neighbor comes with the week’s leftovers that she always gives me on Sunday for the dogs. I show her the bird, and she says, "don’t eat it. It’s not safe." So, I bury the bird, with a little prayer.
What triggered this, and how can I prevent it? Well, I obviously need better control over the dogs. Also, I had waited to feed them (late) because I know that my neighbor comes on Sunday, and the food won’t keep with nowhere to store it. So, the dogs were hungry. Well, the dogs are now chained, with little freedom. Only 2 to 3 let off a chain at a time under my supervision, and EVERY MORNING we are going to have individual training sessions (15 min. each), where we reenforce "call back" and basic obedience.