We raised six baby chicks this year (April & May). It’s looking like 5 of them are roos. When the chicks are a few weeks old, they are small and independent enough to fit through the gate of the chicken yard and range in the garden and human yard. It’s very cute.
When the first chicks were 2 months old, our dog friend Rosie arrived in the yard off-leash. She was ecstatic to find chickens to chase. Chase she did, and she caught the blue-laced red Wyandotte roo. We quickly separated them (Squak! Squak!), and off went the roo, seeming unharmed.
The next day it was raining. Scott watched the babies out in the yard and called to me “Hey, I think the roo is watching the rain fall!”. Sure enough, roo had his head twisted to the side with an eye towards the sky.
The next day it was not raining, but roo was still watching the sky. And walking in circles. Uh oh. Internet searches turned up a condition called ‘wry neck’ – a vitamin E deficiency that can be reversed with gel caps. Except the timing of this wry neck suggested the dog attack was to blame.
The wry neck got worse. Poor roo had trouble eating and drinking; he pecked at an angle and kept missing his target. He could dip his beak in the water, but had to awkwardly swing his head around and back to swallow. Little roo also could not jump onto the roost to sleep with his buddies. I would find him sleeping on the coop floor.
After a few days he seemed to be getting better – I had to really look to see his crooked neck. Unfortunately he was still sleeping on the coop floor. One night we forgot to close the coop door. The next day I couldn’t find the broken chicken. Instead I found all of his feathers.
Some dogs get along great with chickens. In fact, Rosie gets along well with the chickens in the house where she grew up (except for stealing and eating their eggs). But most dogs do have an instinct to chase if not catch if not kill chickens. And unfortunately, chickens aren’t toys. They can’t handle being manipulated by the jaws of dogs. 😦