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Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Nyxsie, Nov 16, 2016.
Long story short: Puppy killed one of my ducklings. Got rid of puppy.
I read your post earlier but didn't have good enough wifi to reply. I'm sorry about what happened, I know you feel bad, but the puppy probably didn't mean to kill the duckling. Puppies are like toddlers, they can get out of control when they're playing and just like a little kid breaks its toy by accident, a puppy can kill something without meaning to do so. If you wanted to keep the puppy, you could likely train it to leave your birds alone, but not until it was at least a year old. Puppies aren't exactly trustworthy until they've grown up somewhat. But I would probably rehome the dog too, because I'd probably think of the duckling every time I looked at the dog. I hope you can find another duck to keep your remaining duckling company, and don't beat yourself up too much about what happened. I know how badly you feel, we've all made mistakes with our birds and as long as we learn and do better, we'll be on the right track.
I've tried to think over various situations that may have caused this. The way she was so well behaved around them, as well as the chickens on the property, made me feel that she understood that they were not food. She watched me hand feed the ducklings, she shared food with the chickens, etc etc. I could go on and on but of course in the end it still happened. There were a few incidents such as bowing at the ducks to play.
However, one thing is for sure. Even if it started as an accident or a game, it did not end in one.
I yelled loudly "No!" when I walked into my yard and saw her holding the duckling in the coop. As I rushed to get over there, I could see her chomping and chewing quicker. (The way a dog tries to hurry up and enjoy the last few moments when it knows you're going to take something away) The duckling's stomach was torn open and the ducklings intestines were ripped out and laying on the ground, and she had also tore off one of the ducklings feet. She didn't just kill the duckling, she was ripping it up and eating it as well. If the duckling was dead in the coop but she left it be, I may have excused it as an accident... but this was too vile. I believe if it started as a game, it was probably the same way a cat plays with a lizard or a mouse. She did go out of the coop and run around and get attention before I put her in and ran an errand. She also had a full meal, a bone, and toys. After seeing how she mutilated the duckling, and tried to get as many chews in before I got to her, I'd never trust her around poultry again.
Thank you for the kind words. The worst part was going back in there to remove the duckling as the other duckling watched me intently. And hearing her called out as louder than ever before when I walked back out. She's really not satisfied with the chicken, but that's the best I could do for now...
I will definitely be able to get her a duck friend soon. I don't want her to be lonely or scared.
Yes, puppies can be taught not to hurt your birds. Its take some time, but it can be done. I've had to do it will all my dogs. I'm sorry about your loss. I know it hurts to lose one.
That really is a sad story...I do think you made a good decision in rehoming the dog. I don't know that you ever would have been able to totally trust her after that. Best of luck in finding your remaining duckling a new friend, and please don't beat yourself up too much. I know I did, after I lost my favorite chicken, I felt like it was my fault and felt guilty for so long. It's hard not to I guess.
I wouldn't be able to trust her, and to be completely honest I also wouldn't want to try. I can only imagine from my duckling's point of view... trapped with a monster that is eating her friend, and terrified that she is next. I don't want my duckling to have a "monster" lurking around in her life. I don't know I just feel really bad for my duckling and don't think she should ever have to see Aspen again. I don't want a dog that needs to be separated from my livestock- I'd prefer no dog in that case even though I really like dogs.. That act was unforgivable to me. Maybe far in the future I will get a Great Pyrenees from a good line or something.
I'm going to name the duckling that survived Emma.
In better news, I contacted the breeder I got Emma from and I bought 2 more ducklings. 1 male and 1 female Welsh Harlequin. Emma pecked them and bullied them at first but seems to be warming up. She picks on the male duckling more. I thought that was kind of odd. He is closer to her size while the female is noticeably smaller than her, so making she is just trying to establish dominance between them? She doesn't call when I leave the coop now and that makes me feel glad for her. She seems happier now.
Male, Female, Emma.
Emma (front), Female (back left), Male (back right)
Sorry for your loss. I used to tell folks that dogs and chickens should NEVER meet. But they were not happy with that. It's just that you never hear of a chicken killing a dog.
But, even a very friendly dog can kill them just by accident and their sheer size alone. Lots of people introduce a new pup/dog to a chicken by holding the chick out to the dog so it can smell it. The dog think's he's being offered a treat and chick is dead. Many different scenarios but most end badly for the chick or duckling or whatever.
I like to err on the side of caution.
You may be able to get a dog in the future, since you like them so much, and have it work out. I have an Australian shepherd/blue heeler cross and a Lab who had never been around livestock until they were 10 and 9 years old, and we got our first chickens. I wasn't sure if we could ever trust the Lab around the birds, mainly the ducks because she had hunted ducks in the past. They are both completely trustworthy now and it wasn't too hard to train them. One thing they had going for them, though, was years of discipline. Both of them are very good with "no" and "leave it".
I think a lot of people make the mistake of wanting their dogs to interact with their chickens and be friends with them, because it's cute to see dogs and birds together. If that works for people, fine; but I taught my dogs to ignore the chickens. Don't go sniff them, don't show any interest, don't even look at them. The dogs literally now walk through the birds as they're free ranging and never even turn their heads to acknowledge them. Like drumstick diva said, the potential for accidents is too great so I don't want my dogs interacting with the birds whatsoever.
Your new duckies are super cute! I'm glad Emma has some friends now. I have a bossy female who runs the flock and likes picking on the drake too.
Thank you. I never held chickens or ducklings for her to smell. In the very beginning I let her smell a chicken feather, but she was corrected for trying to lick or take it. I continued letting her smell it until she just did one quick sniff and looked away and gave her rewards for that. Then she learned to ignore feathers and I started introductions. I did it that way so she wouldn't try to play with feathers on the ground and think feathers are fun. Everything went well, and she spent time off leash with the chickens and the ducklings. There were a few incidents but I made a huge deal about them and due to that they almost never happened. (By incidents I mean she pounced playfully at a chicken, she bowed for play at the ducklings, and she licked a couple chicken butts when they were walking past her). She was doing really good. Even in moments when I tried to give her a treat and chickens stole it, chickens pecked her, etc she was wonderful.
Hopefully I can. I would love to have a dog around but I'm more interested in a dog that hangs out with the livestock. When I train a dog, I consider the techniques and approaches I've learned from various dog trainers and articles. However, I don't follow any specific training plan- I try to sort of go with the flow and follow my gut. I really messed up trying to trust her so soon. One mistake I made was I didn't make her ignore the ducklings. I started it out that way, but changed it. She was not allowed to follow them around, wag her tail when looking at them (excitement), or focus too much / stare intensely. I noticed she seemed to like to be close with them, laying near them. One day they were underneath the ramp. She went under there too, which made me nervous, but when I investigated I saw that she was just laying down... and actually facing away from the ducklings. That made me feel like she was bonding with them and viewing them as companions. I'm silly I guess. If she viewed them that way in the least she wouldn't have done what she did (even if it started as an accident.. which I doubt, dogs don't eat their dead companions. Errr... still boiling with a lot of emotions toward her. I know it's largely my fault but I can't help but be upset. At the very least, she DID know I didn't want that and did it anyways.). I will likely get a dog breed that is specifically bred for the job next time, from parents that work, and a puppy that has already imprinted with livestock.
Emma is so much happier. I feel really relieved on that. She was calling unbelievably loud when I would leave her after her friend was gone... it was really hard to listen to. She doesn't call anymore when I go, but she is still very friendly with me when I go in. Before all that happened, she would call out when it was her and the other duckling, so looks like it was a good decision to get two more instead of 1 more. When I woke up they were all swimming together and that made me happy. Lol I think Emma is going to end up being really spoiled. I feel it happening.