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Coyotes and dogs

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Honey B, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. Honey B

    Honey B Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Today, I let the hens out around 8:00 in the morning to free range (no rooster). Every time the ladies come out of the coop they hustle over to the dog pen to visit with my husband's hunting beagles. It is a funny relationship based on playful exuberance (although there will always be a fence between the two species.) Today, I believe the dogs saved the girls from being a coyote snack. Usually the dogs are very quiet while at the house but around 1:00 pm they produced a ruckus that had the potential to wake the dead. As I sprinted towards the noise, I heard the shrill howl of a coyote entirely to close for comfort. Once outside I saw the howling beast sitting about 50 feet away from my silly chickens (golden comets who would probably be contenders for the Darwin Award because they were headed towards the predator.) After herding my preservationally challenged hens back to the coop and rewarding my beagles, I started thinking about this odd turn of events. Several questions popped into my head that I am hoping someone might be able to explain...
    1. Did the dogs presence, even though they were caged, keep the coyote from attacking the chickens?
    2. Why did the coyote just sit down and howl rather than leave the area?
    3. Why did my chicken walk towards the coyote rather than run for shelter? Was it their friendship with the dogs or maybe loss of self preservation from selective breeding?

    Thanks in advance for any insights you can share.
     
  2. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For question one, it is possible.

    For two, likely enough, it was calling out to the other coyotes in the area. Strength in numbers and all. That one may have been out looking for potential food before it really got hungry. Chances are, it will be back and it won't be alone.

    For the last one, sometimes chickens have to be taught what is a danger and what isn't. To them, the coyotes may be just like their beagle buddies so they were ready to play.

    BTW: Be careful with your beagles. They are a perfect size for a coyote to take back to their den to feed some pups. It happened to one in my neighborhood years ago. Sad really.
     
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Once the coyotes figure out the beagles are penned they will get brave and move on in.

    One coyote will make itself obvious while others will sneak around the back to investigate and attack. They will also do this to lure out a potential victim so the others will go in for the kill.

    Your chickens do not recognize the coyote as a predator because they are used to the beagles.

    Be very careful. Keep your chickens up and predator proof your coop and pen. If you are good with a rifle, find you a comfy spot, and get serious about protecting your flock.

    Good luck and keep safe.
     
  4. BonRae67

    BonRae67 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed.
     
  5. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with what has been said. The coyote was probably assessing the situation, checking out the beagles, before he made any moves. Your going out averted a disaster.
    But I'm not sure why your hens went towards the coyote unless they were curious. Our chickens and dogs which include shelties get along well. The chickens were brooded in the house where the dogs were when they were babies. My husband worried that because foxes look similar to the shelties, the chickens wouldn't be wary of them.
    Trust me, they are. When they free range, the largest dog is always out with them or a person is nearby. If a fox is sighted, the chickens take off for the coop flying. (Even a loose wandering dog causes them to quickly hide and disappear.) The only time a chicken headed towards a fox was the rooster while the hens made themselves scarce. (I was right behind the rooster and the fox quickly left.)
     
  6. Honey B

    Honey B Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the great advice. The area we live in is full of predators. Before the coop was constructed, I researched security thoroughly and tried to design it to be as predator proof as possible. I believe the ladies are safe while in the coop, but being new to chicken keeping, mistakes are bound to be made. The insights into coyote behavior are invaluable. For the next few days the ladies are going into lock down and the rifles will greet all visiting predators. No free chicken dinners here.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. BonRae67

    BonRae67 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like you have an eggcellent plan. ;)
     
    1 person likes this.

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