Canine Pest

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by GParkins, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. GParkins

    GParkins New Egg

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    Jul 8, 2013
    Short version: Our 1-year-old lab is getting into our enclosure and raiding food and eggs. Need a fix.

    Background: Our coop opens into an enclosure. We open the pop door and tie the enclosure door open in the mornings, allowing our chickens to go out and forage during the day. At dusk, they all march up the ramp for bedtime. We have a mixed bag of chickens, including:

    1) 4 buff Orpington hens, one of which went broody. We stuck some fertilized eggs under her, and she is raising...

    2) 4 chicks that are just approaching the pullet/cockerel age.

    3) 4 lavender Orpington pullets/cockerels and 2 silkie pullets/cockerels (still too young to determine sex.)

    We also just adopted a pair of Pekin ducks. I built a separate duck house close by, and there is another enclosure around the duck house. It too is opened in the morning and closed up at night.

    Pelleted feed goes into a PVC dispenser, and crumbles go into a pair of 1-qt. plastic feeders. Duck food goes into a large bowl designed as a horse feeder.

    At night, the foster mom beds her chicks in the nest boxes, which are getting fouled up so quickly that all of the egg-laying is taking place elsewhere.

    We're out chasing dollars during weekdays, so it's nearly impossible for us to catch the lab pup in the act, but she's getting fat on chicken feed and eggs. Also, we're finding feeders all over the yard, after she finishes dragging them out for closer inspection and a taste test.

    One option I've considered is to put an "invisible fence" around both enclosures, as one side of the poultry area is a paddock fence, and it would be relatively easy to bury the antenna wire. I doubt it would take much more than 100' of wire or so. The problem is that it represents a bigger chunk of money than I want to spend.

    I've also considered trying to build a door to the enclosures that would allow the birds to pass freely, but would restrict the dog.

    My final question is regarding the nest boxes. Can I block them off at night, forcing the foster mom to use the shavings on the floor of the coop, which would in turn offer cleaner nests for the other layers? At what age do chickens start roosting?

    Any suggestions would be most welcome.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    Your simplest fixes would be to either lock the chickens in during the day while you're gone and can't correct the pup, or to make the openings smaller like you said. Invisible fence could be an option until the battery dies in the dog's collar.

    Blocking off the nest boxes at night is an option to help keep them cleaner.
     
  3. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is this a guardian animal, or a pet?
     
  4. GParkins

    GParkins New Egg

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    Jul 8, 2013
    Hammer-headed, knuckle-dragging, egg-sucking pet!
     
  5. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 10, 2014
    Then I would suggest, that atleast for a while, she shouldn't be out alone - crate train her, or get her a run, or pen the chickens, or something along those lines. Right now you're training the dog to eat eggs and chicken food - she performs the behavior and gets a reward - classic conditioning. The longer it goes on, the harder its going to be to stop.


    What you want is that - atleast for a while - every time she goes to grab an egg, she gets a "NO - bad dog!" - every time she grabs one and you're not there - shes reinforcing the behavior, and breaking any training you're doing. You need to control her environment so that she can only misbehave when you're there to correct.
     
  6. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Electric fence is a lot cheaper than those "invisible fences" and you don't have to depend on a battery in the collar. Plus, dogs get excited and run through those underground fences. I've never had a dog try to run through an electric fence. I have solar ones for both chickens and horses. Works great.
     

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