Chicken Dog Help

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MommaNurse, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. MommaNurse

    MommaNurse New Egg

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    Feb 13, 2015
    West Central, La
    In two days I've lost 4 of my 15 chickens to foxes/coyotes. My husband and I are in the market for a Guardian Dog for the Chickens, and future livestock (read pigs), and all around property guard for intruders as it will be our alarm system. We have two boys, 3 and 5, so kid friendly is a must. Having said that, I have been researching and reading all of the vast amounts of threads saying Pyr's are the way to go, but realistically, we live on a 6.3acre plot of land that is approx. 2 acres wide, with neighbors on either side. Aesthetically fencing my whole cleared property is not an option, but neither is having a roaming dog. We currently have an 11yr old Labrador Retriever with a very high prey drive that I would absolutely never EVER trust around my chickens. When let out she stays in a 20ft x 45ft chain linked fenced area that the previous owners installed off of my back door because the foxes were harassing their smaller dog. I would optimally like to install an invisible fence for the guardian dog. I've read of those who say it's not the breed but the training and personality. I do agree with this, but I need some recommendations that will accommodate our family/acreage, not break through the invisible fence, and roam 5 miles up the road and imprint on the sheep and goats there. I'm looking for a good mixture of guardian and companion for my kids, with a relatively longer lifespan that isn't apt to roam. I'm not expecting the dog to take to our chickens over night, and understand that no matter the breed extensive training will be the forefront of a successful working/guarding relationship.
    [​IMG]
    This run will also have a roof installed. Suggestions for fortification are welcome. The run is reinforced with 1" x2" welded wire and hardware cloth added to lower 4ft.
     
  2. Ameraucanas

    Ameraucanas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have no idea, sorry.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    When and how were the birds lost?
    Were they free ranging at the time?

    Not sure a LGD is the answer with only 6 unfenced acres.

    Might look into electrified poultry netting to define movable pasture area for birds.
     
  4. MommaNurse

    MommaNurse New Egg

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    Feb 13, 2015
    West Central, La
    The chickens free range during afternoon and go to roost at dusk. The door is shut at approx. 8 every night. On both occasions of losses the birds are missing with no blood just feather evidence everywhere near the door of my coop. One particular night 3 birds didn't make it back in when the door was closed and of course .....were casualty. When I am at home I typically let them out, I do not desire chickens to be cooped up all the time.
     
  5. hayley3

    hayley3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While you have a killer on the prowl, you should let them out later in the morning and lock them up an hour before it starts to get dark. ( you don't let them out til afternoon..so morning is not important in your situation)

    Just for clarification: They were not in their run? (which is very nice btw)
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  6. MommaNurse

    MommaNurse New Egg

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    Feb 13, 2015
    West Central, La
    The first one I'm not certain as the feathers weren't found until I went to let them out. I found feathers underneath the ramp from a Buff Orp. The next day I let them out earlier and tried to coax them back in at 4. All but 3 came back in (they normally all go up together on their own- I don't coax them in) I tried to leave the door open for 30 mins between 8-830 hoping that they would go back to roost in the coop and they didn't. So the run door was shut, and I prayed they would make it. And unfortunately the killer got a nice free meal that night. The next day, yesterday, I installed the game came and am hoping I see a glimpse of the predator.

    Thanks for the coop compliments. I do get concerned with the electrified poultry netting with my children but I'll look into it.
     
  7. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What we just did with our run was we put little black garden fences found at Home Depot up directly against the hardware cloth to prevent coyotes and provide extra protection. In my opinion it's a better alternative to electric fences when children and dogs are involved. [​IMG]
    And it's highly unlikely for any big predator to get through it.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Doesn't really matter what the predator was, but you'll probably find out as it will be back for another meal.
    It would be best to leave them in the run for the next week or so, until this predator realizes that the buffet is closed and hopefully moves on.
    It will protect the birds from being eaten and reinforce that this is the place to be at dusk and break them of the habit of roosting in the range area.

    Looks like you have a great area to increase your management flexibility.
    Free ranging is great, until it's not...then they need some protection.
    Rattling scratch scoop near dusk is a great way to 'train' them to come when 'called'.

    That's a nice secure and roomy run area, is it covered with mesh on top?
    Might want to think about covering part of it with a solid roof for sun and rain protection.
    Maybe add some things (stumps, logs, pallet on blocks, roost) to make it a more interesting environment, look into grazing frames for some green eats.
    Nice wide areas on either side of run could make a couple of good pasture areas to rotate using the poultry netting.
    Your kids look old enough (in avatar pic?) to learn not to touch the hot net.
     
  9. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Kids will learn amazingly quickly not to touch the electric netting. The shock will not electrocute them, it is just a tiny jolt to startle what ever touches it. The garden fencing is attractive, but will not keep predators from climbing to get into a run. It could be very effective with a topped/covered run.
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    As Enola said, kids (and dogs) learn real fast about electric fencing. So will your predators. If your kids are quite young, you can always unplug the fence when they're outside playing or helping with the chickens. My three sons grew up with electric fencing that kept our horses in, and that fence ran the perimeter of two sides of our yard. I watched them closely when they were quite small, and warned them about the fence as they got older. They didn't always listen and they learned their lesson. The dog also learned to keep his tail tucked down when he went under the fence. [​IMG]
     

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