1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Darn it - it looks like it was my dog... *New suspect*

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by bobbi-j, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,186
    2,149
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    A few months ago, I posted about my chickens disappearing and was wondering whether it was the dog or coyotes. We have a Redbone Coonhound mix that's now a year old. When he was 6 months old in June, DH left him unsupervised with the chickens (I was gone for the week and told him DO NOT trust the dog alone with them, but that's a whole 'nother story). He killed at least 11 of them. DH beat him and thought that would solve the problem. (Yes, I know that's not the answer, I wasn't there to deal with it. DH is old school, he did what he thought was right.) We didn't have another problem until Oct. when 5 of my 6 new birds disappeared in two days. First one, then four the next day. DH was gone that day, too. Chickens got locked up after that. I was convinced it was coyotes because we have a lot of them out here, and I know they live not too far from the building site. We just started letting them free range again a couple of weeks ago. DH has left them unsupervised a few times, no problem. Today he was gone for an hour, and one of my chickens got killed. My rooster has a puncture wound on the back of his neck, but seems fine otherwise. Found the hen laying on the edge of the field where I've seen the feather trails from the Oct. kills with her head missing. That's it. Feathers missing on the breast, no blood, just headless. Dog was up at the house by the time DH got home, so he didn't see the dog with the bird, but it's the only conclusion I can draw at this point. I will take the blame for some of this as I was unable last summer to work on training him due to some health problems. DH did tell me that he will not leave the dog out ever again when the chickens are out. That's the only way we will know for sure it was the dog. (I keep hoping it's not, but I have a feeling I'm wrong)
     
  2. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,650
    186
    186
    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    Don't you have any snow where your at? That hound dog should have much larger tracks than a coyote, unless he is very tiny for his breed. Even a beagle will have a larger track than your average coyote
     
  3. azahn

    azahn Out Of The Brooder

    82
    3
    43
    Jan 14, 2012
    Northeast Texas
    I'm afraid if it was the coyote, they would take the bird far away and leave no evidence - why chance being caught? Better look closer to home. More than likely it is your own pooch.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,186
    2,149
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Nope, no snow here thanks to unseasonably warm temps the last week or so. (We're on the prairie in western MN) What snow there was left has melted and then frozen into sheets of ice. Otherwise, it's mud. No tracks to be seen near where I found the bird. It's grassy there. No tracks leading to it. When we did have snow, we saw coyote tracks near the coop, but the birds were locked up at that time. We also have seen them in the driveway the last couple of times we had fresh snow on the ground. (Snowed at night, saw tracks in the morning - dog spends his nights in the house.) And yes, those tracks are a bit smaller than the dog's, more narrow and elongated. Last time I saw the tracks in the driveway, I took the dog and walked him right next to the tracks so I could compare. [​IMG]
    This is why I thought it was a coyote in the first place. The birds that disappeared in Oct. did disappear without a trace. There was a trail of feathers leading to a field next to our building site. On the other side of the field (roughly 300 - 400 yards) is a slough surrounded by tall grass. We have chased coyotes out of there while deer hunting in the past. But there was no blood, nothing. Just a few feathers. But hopefully DH will lock the dog up when he leaves during the day from now on. That way if chickens still disappear, we'll know for sure it wasn't the dog. (I'm still holding out some hope, although I''m about 99% convinced now that it was him. [​IMG])

    Edited to add - I had some chickens taken by coyotes a couple of years ago, and it was the same thing. No chickens, no evidence. The only thing left was one of the rooster's tail feathers. I know for sure it was a coyote that time as we didn't have a dog then. We were on vacation, my mom was letting them out to free range in the morning, coming in the evening to lock them up as I had asked her to. She had been there a couple of hours earlier and all was well, came to lock them up for the night and there were several missing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,674
    5,426
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Oh Bummer :(
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,186
    2,149
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I know. It's an easy matter to fix. We have a 10'x10' kennel to put the dog in when we're going to be gone. It's just a matter of training someone to do it. At this point I'm not sure if it's harder to train the dog to leave the chickens alone, or the DH to lock the dog up when he leaves. If the dog did it EVERY time, it would be easier for him to think about it, but the dog is unpredictable. He'll be just fine for a while, and then this happens. On a more positive note, the rooster appears to be doing well. I was a little concerned last night when I went to check him out and he didn't even flinch. I was afraid I might find him dead under the roost today, but he and the girls were all hanging out in the coop together, just fine.
     
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    63,179
    7,433
    726
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    I'm not 100% sure that it is the dog, but not allowing him access to the chickens will give you the answer. If he's penned and more birds are killed, he's not guilty. If no more are killed, he is most likely the culprit. Now as to training the husband - that can be a problem. The Princess has been working on me for 51 years, and I am still a work in progress. [​IMG]
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,186
    2,149
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Ha! Thanks, Sourland, for the encouragement about the dog. Not so much the husband training. You have 19 more years under your belt than we do. I was hoping eventually it would work....
     
  9. Campine

    Campine Chillin' With My Peeps

    103
    10
    91
    Aug 17, 2012
    From my experience if it's a coyote, you never find the dead bird.

    Dogs mostly kill them and leave them, looking for more fun.
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,186
    2,149
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Exactly! That's why I was thinking coyotes at first. I only found a few feathers along the edge of the field. I have never found carcasses, and I figured if it was the dog, he'd be dragging them up to the yard eventually. Or, if they were killed nearby, by another predator. He'd find 'em. But the timing is so suspicious. It's always when DH has been gone for even a short time. This is why I want the dog kenneled when we're gone and the chickens are out. It's the only way we can know for sure if it's the dog or not. (Still holding out hope that it's not... [​IMG])
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by