Can coyotes catch a small, flighty breed such as brown Leghorn?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by UrbanEnthusiast, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2012
    Port Orford, Oregon
    So I have raised chickens in the city before, but I just got my first batch of chicks since moving to the country. I cannot afford a bunch of fencing, nor do I see the point in keeping chickens in a run all day. If I wanted eggs from confined hens, I could just go to a store. Of course, we have a secure coop for them to roost at night, and adequate run space for them if there's a local outbreak or terrible weather. I will provide feed, but I want my birds to live off the land for the most part. Yet coyotes pass through here frequently, even during the day. Bald eagles are around too. I even worry about our cat. She's a pretty good hunter. Sadly I cannot have a rooster per on-site landlady's request. So I did my research, and I figured I wanted alert, lightweight, flighty breeds of non-white plumage that I thought would have the best chance of free ranging successfully, and I also wanted a good feed to egg ratio. I went with 4 brown Leghorn, 2 Ancona, 1 blue Hamburg, and 1 EE. Supposedly they are all females (I hope). Our property is five acres, mostly wooded, with a lot of brush, and some clearing. There are plenty of places for cover. I can't afford to keep a large flock (8 is the max for now), so if I get any losses, I was thinking of trying to find a couple Egyptian Fayoumis hens or some kind of game breed, something that will make a racket whenever predators are near, like a substitute rooster.

    Any tips from experienced free-rangers? Does my scenario seem sustainable? I don't mind replenishing birds occasionally, but I don't have the time or money to be raising chicks constantly. How do you find their eggs, especially with the "wilder" type breeds? Do y'all think I could possibly train a dog to perform such a task? We're getting a dog pretty soon, probably before we get any eggs, some type of herding breed, maybe. It will be a rescue. I'm pretty decent at training rescue dogs, though I haven't done any search stuff before.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Coyotes are pack hunters and can easily tire out and catch chickens, if they discover a free chicken buffet it could easily result in continued devastation...

    Chickens have about zero defensive abilities at night thus they really need a safe and secure place to roost for the night aka a secured coop and if you provide them such a place and also provide them with nesting boxes and food at that location they will generally lay their eggs there as well, no searching needed...

    If you expect them to live off the land without you providing them shelter, security and even substance I believe you are setting yourself up for some fast disappointment...
     
  3. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, no, they're going to have a coop and small run as well as feed, but I do want them to free range most of the day every day.
     
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you free range you will lose chickens, something you just have to accept... How many will vary, but I would not put it out of the realm of possibilities that you could lose all 8 quite quickly, even in a single day with not predator protections...
     
  5. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Port Orford, Oregon
    What predator protections would you recommend?
     
  6. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    if you want true free range you have little ability to protect against predators... But if you compromise a fenced in area plus a sheltered areas to protect from overhead threats provides at least basic protections or at least a minimal line of defense... Good flock protection dogs or even other protection animals can help as well... My llamas for example couldn't care less about actually 'protecting' the birds but they will protect and defend their pasture that it turn that protects the birds inside that pasture...

    Be aware since you talked about getting a herding dog, there is a difference between a herding dog and a flock protection dog... And one from a shelter is likely not all that well behaved and trained as a flock protection dog, you might very well find you own dog being your local alpha predator...
     
  7. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Even a dog bred to protect herds or flocks MUST be trained to do the job properly. Beware of cross bred dogs. I am probably get yelled at for saying this, and it is only my opinion.......

    But, cross breeding herding breeds with guarding breeds will give you a dog that is very confused about his purpose in life.
     
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  8. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    I won't argue, I own and have owned multiple Australian Cattle Dog, and without fail the herding instinct is burned very deep into their core, it's truly part of their makeup... I'm sure flock protection instincts are also burnt in quite deep and the two although similar do not necessarily compliment each other...

    For example with Cattle Dogs (and other herding dogs) when they want to get a cow to go somewhere they will nip the back legs/heels, then jump backwards and duck to avoid getting kicked... This is not something your train them, this is pure hard wired instinct they are born with and although effective for getting a cow to move, it's not going to be very effective at protecting chickens and could actually be detrimental... Also from my experience herd dogs love to control the situation and keep the 'herd' in tight proximity and tight formation, they don't like wanderers or strays, and chickens are wanderers by nature, not a good combination...
     
  9. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2012
    Port Orford, Oregon
    I have a lot of experience with rescue dogs in the past. I feel confident that I can choose a dog that I can train not to chase chickens. My dogs have all been extremely obedient, come when called, no matter what. The dogs I have had in the past wouldn't even touch a t-bone steak sitting on the floor without my permission.
     
  10. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    I agree to a point with generic pet breeds, but with true 'working' dog breeds in my experience many of their 'working' traits are hard wired pure instinct, and thus the best you can do is suppress them most of the time not stop them... While training them to do tricks ignore a steak in front of them or what is certainly possible with working dogs and can generally be easily done, getting that working instinct out isn't something I would say is possible...

    I have spent a great deal on professional training of my cattle dogs, as well as a lot of devoted training by myself and although I can curb their herding instincts to a night and day difference, the minute I turn my back or slack off with discipline they go right back to their hard wired ways...

    This is something I would have argued the other side of growing up with misc mixed breed dogs or family breed dogs, but after having true working dogs my mind was certainly changed...

    Either way good luck...
     

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