A close one.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by The Lazy L, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. The Lazy L

    The Lazy L Songster

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    Strictly 100% all my fault.

    Yesterday when I got home from work at 5 PM I followed my regular routine by going out to the coop to collect eggs. Beautiful day so I open the door to the chicken run so they can free range till dark.

    As we are eating supper I look out the window. Lucky and some of his ladies are pecking their way towards the front of the house.

    I'm down in the basement watching a movie. "THERE'S A DOG EATING YOUR CHICKENS!", my wife screams.

    I bound up the steps and fly out the back door. Dog running away from me. I get one shot off just before the dog disappears behind the shop. I run around the shop form the opposite direction full expecting to see a mad dog coming at me and me wishing I had the shotgun instead of a pistol. No dog?! Guess he's still running thru the backwoods heading for the next state?

    Time to assess damage. 3 out of the 8 hens are making statues of themselves in their run. That leaves 5 hens and Lucky the Rooster missing. Backyard is full, I mean FULL of feathers. No carcases or blood.

    I find Lucky across the street in the neighbor's front yard. Lucky's missing all of his tail feathers except one. Well now I know he was involved somehow. I try and herd him back to the coop but he refuses, no way is his going towards the scene of the attack! OK then I'll try find the other 5 hens.

    Found the other 5 hens half way between the road and their backyard coop. All hens are grouped together thinking loudly, "We believe we are invisible therefore we are." I herd them back to their run and lock them in with the other 3 hens.

    I head back to get Lucky but he's no where to be found. Wife builds up her courage and comes out to help.

    Neighbor's yard, our front yard, side woods, no Lucky. Found him in our the side neighbors woods/front yard. Gently herd him back to and into the run. All the hens break their silence and start clucking away, guess they are thanking Lucky for protecting them.

    No blood on Lucky. From the fight scene looks like the dog got 4 mouth fulls of Lucky's tail feathers. Lucky will not be posing for the Kellogg's Corns Flakes front cartoon picture for a while.

    When I get home tonight I'll try and backtrack the dog to determine where he came from or went.

    Moral of the story. If you're going to free range your chickens without supervision then don't be surprised if they don't survive.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    My Coop
    So glad everyone was (relatively) okay! It happens.
     
  3. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Songster

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    Don't beat yourself up about it. It does happen. My dh brought home an English setter one day.....I know, "What was he thinking??" Less than a week later, she broke out of her pen, and attacked my chickens. Fortunately, I was already home from work and got to her as quick as I could, running to the back of the property. She had bit a few of my hens pretty good, Feathers and blood everywhere. The dog's mouth was sunk into the butt end of my partridge cochin. I thought that hen would die for sure. There was holes in her skin and winter was right around the corner. I isolated her in a dog crate & put peroxide and antibiotic ointment on her each night. Even sometimes it would freeze on her. Somehow she made it and laid us many eggs. One of our roos ran under the back deck and I did not find him for hours later. Just a warning, my chickens did not act "normal" for months afterward.
    For the record, We still have the bird dog. She has a bigger, better pen that is hopefully going to keep her away from my chickens. It is her nature, and I understand that. I also hope she now understands that they are MY chickens. Good luck with yours.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road Premium Member 8 Years

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    Has anyone worked with the bird dog to teach her that the birds are yours? We had a lab for 10 years, and he loved to pheasant and duck hunt. He also left my chickens alone - except for the occasional game of "chicken bowling". He was taught from the time we brought him home at 8 weeks that the chickens are not to be touched. He went with me every day to do chores, he was left outside unsupervised for years and we never had a problem. Dogs don't just "figure it out" on their own. They need to be taught. It was my dog's nature to retrieve birds, but he was taught that he didn't get to retrieve MY birds.
     
  5. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Songster

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    My husband has worked with her, but she also was 4years old when we got her. I did not scold her when the incident happened. There was one time this past spring when he was walking her, she broke free of the leash, ran home before he could catch her, and she ran straight for our pullet tractor. By the time he made it to her, minutes later, she was standing on point....pointing my pullets. She could have easily broke into the pullet tractor and damage could have been done. He will continue to work with her, and I will continue to make my coop areas stronger[​IMG]. Good to know they can learn the difference. Just hope she's not too old.
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road Premium Member 8 Years

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    On the MN prairie.
    It may take a bit longer, but I think she can be taught. Pointing at the pullets in the tractor... [​IMG] "Found 'em!"
     
  7. She's not too old to learn. One of my dogs was 7 when we got chickens and he has become an excellent chicken guardian. He learned relatively quickly that the chickens are part of our pack and not to be hurt. He beat up a coyote that tried to run off with one of my hens last fall.
    I would have loved to see a picture of that dog on point with your pullets. LOL that must have been funny. And it shows she's already "getting it" about not attacking. Keep up working with her and she'll probably be fine.
     
  8. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Songster

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    Lazy L....How are your chickens doing?
     

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