A need to vent my frustration

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by farmert, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. farmert

    farmert Chirping

    Mar 28, 2014
    I apologize for having to vent my frustrations, but I hope I find at least understanding among Backyard Chicken lovers.

    My neighbors through the woods (who I have enjoyed) have a nine-month old border collie mix that they let run wild. And I mean manic wild.

    Twice this week, the dog has made a B-line for my free-range chickens and guineas. Today, the dog grabbed one of my ten-month old Americanas (one of only three chickens laying right now), and bit off ALL of her tail feathers. How she escaped, I do not know, but thank goodness, she did. She is traumatized but ok and safe now.

    My question is not about her, but about what to re: the dog being allowed to run wild. Now this dog has a taste for the birds and my fear is that she will come back and kill as many as she can. And no doubt she will because the owner won't keep her on leash. She has no training whatsoever, and I cannot handle her when she is flying around the way she does, chasing every bird and trying to grab each one.

    These neighbors are renters, so I called the owner/landlord and told her the story. We are friends so that's the good part. She said she would talk to the, but my concern is that the dog will be back. Won't really matter what the LL says.

    I'd like to hear others' experiences with this kind of thing and what to do. I did tell the LL that I would have to call Animal Control if it happened again, but that doesn't protect my birds. Our county leash law is pretty lenient and all my birds could be killed before the county does anything about it.

    I'm really upset. For one thing, the owner of the dog got angry at ME for being upset. Do dogs take precedent in the animal hierarchy? His off the cuff remark was "I'll compensate you for the loss" which made me even more upset. I told him straight out that I don't put a price tag on my animals, and I tried to tell him that my birds are as important to me as his dog, but the look in his eye was not convincing.

    I cannot fence in my entire farm, and my animals are on the farm, nowhere near where he lives. The biggest problems I've had with poultry loss haven't been with coyotes, foxes, raccoons or opossums, but dogs. And more to the point, dog owners.

  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    There are SOOO many threads with people having the same problem. Sadly, unless you choose to shoot the dog or have Animal Control pick it up, there's not much you can do about it running wild. What you can control is whether or not it has access to your birds. I live on a farm, and my chickens free range. However, I also have runs attached to my coops so I can keep them locked in for a time if necessary. If I have a predator problem, they are locked up until said predator is eliminated or (hopefully) discouraged. I can also keep them confined if family brings dogs when they come to visit. Another option is electric netting - I believe Premiere is the brand mentioned most often here on the forum.

    The "once it has a taste for chickens" is an old wives' tale. It's more likely to come back because they're really fun self-propelled squeaky toys. I mean, how much more fun could it be? They run, they flap, they squawk... Everything that a dog could love!

    Good luck, and I hope you can resolve things with your neighbor.
  3. farmert

    farmert Chirping

    Mar 28, 2014
    "Everything a dog could love" -- yep, and that's usually the hierarchy. Not that I'm saying you believe that, but most of my experience tells me it's true. Dogs matter. Birds don't. They are easily replaced in their minds.

    Seems like there is just a tiny bit of not respecting another's property involved here and "dogs are just being dogs". BTW: if getting a taste of blood is just a old wive's tale, I really don't want to be the one to have to test that myth.

    I also have runs and ways to make them safe. But this may take a long time, and my birds LOVE to free range. Why shouldn't they be allowed to do what they love to do without fear of a manic dog (or more to the point: lazy and incompetent dog owners)?

    You are correct: animal control is my only option because I am not going to shoot a puppy that hasn't been taught what to do.

    So much for good neighbors and good relations between neighbors.
    Makes me furious and makes me sad.
  4. I'm sorry you are having this problem, that's awful :/ I would ask the neighbor to keep the dog fenced in or chained up. And if they refused to I would call animal control like @bobbi-jj said. Their just isn't any other good option I can think of.

  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    It is upsetting when people don't care enough about their dogs to keep them home. Or have the "I'm in the country I can let them run wild" philosophy. We don't confine our dog, but he also stays on our property. If he were at the neighbors' killing their livestock, he'd be put down. Just like our neighbors would do if their dog were constantly here harassing my chickens. My birds LOVE to free range, too, but if it's safer for them to be penned up for awhile, then they will be penned up for awhile. I am the human and I get to make those decisions.

    You are right that people seem to value dogs more than chickens. If I were to guess, I'd say it's because dogs are seen as more of a companion animal and are expensive to obtain and keep. Financially, chickens are easier to replace in many peoples' minds. They don't cost as much to buy or raise. They are also more often thought of as a food animal instead of a companion animal.
  6. Kasilofchrisn

    Kasilofchrisn Chirping

    Apr 25, 2016
    Kenai peninsula Alaska
    I would personally talk with your neighbor.
    Quote them some local dog ordinances.
    Let them know you absolutely will kill their dog if it enters your property again.
    They don't need to know your bluffing.
    Buy a slingshot or other similar
    type weapon you feel comfortable using to deter this dog and practice with it so you are comfortable using it.
    I have used .22 birdshot to deter dogs from some ducks we had.
    This dog came from what was our nearest neighbor 1/4 mile away.
    Some dogs get it right away and some take several hits over several days before they wise up.

    Sent from my HTC One_M8 using Tapatalk
  7. TeeMom

    TeeMom Songster

    Jul 26, 2016
    My approach is to catch the dog and drip them at your local animal shelter. Having to bail your dog out a time or two usually fixes that priblem. So frustrating! I've been extremely lucky that my neighbors have all been very respectful regarding their dogs. Running loose is not tolerated despite being in the country.

  8. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Songster

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    You will never be able to control your neighbors dog, or the next neighbors dog, or coyotes, foxes, bobcats, raccoons etc. So you have to make your chickens as safe as you can. I used to lose 2-3 chickens a month to predators until I put up electric net fence. Mine is 48" high and looks like a volleyball net. Once I put that around my chicken yard, I have not had a loss in 3 years. Checkout www.premier1supplies.com. The fencing takes only minutes to set up and take down. It does cost some for the initial investment, but the alternative is losing your chickens to the neighbors dog, local coyote etc.

    3 people like this.
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.

  10. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    We have nice neighbors with 2 dogs. One of them (the dogs) must be a bit crusty as when it is out and running around, it has a muzzle on it. That is a bit scary to have it walk up to sniff your leg with that on.

    Anyway, they were out and about one day and so were my birds. They were separated by an electric fence. Dog came toward the birds, hit the fence, left in a hurry with it's tail tucked between it's legs and has never been back since. Their house is only a hundred yards from ours, so it could come back anytime it wants. It doesn't want to.

    We have a little mixed breed rescue mutt that is an escape artist. He got locked in the garden the other night, and when we couldn't find him, we went looking. He was standing at the gate desperate to have someone come get him. He could have gotten out and come to the front door by breaching the 4 wire electric fence, but didn't. He chose to take a chance on freezing to death rather than get another dose of that fence.

    A well built, well maintained electric fence will solve a whole lot of problems with dogs and other varmints. Our birds won't mess with it either. It quickly becomes that barrier none of them want to cross or mess with.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
    1 person likes this.

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