Dog attack on my chickens... how can I prevent it from happening again


9 Years
Apr 12, 2010
Harpers Ferry, WV
I usually let my chickens out around 2pm until dusk when we are home for the day. Today, however, I wanted them in the garden to dig up the old beds. The garden has an electric deer fence around it, as well as plastic netting around the bottom/middle to stop the chickens from getting in or out. I put them in there around 10:45am and left for homeschool co-op.

When I pulled up just after 3pm, I noticed a strange dog in the garden area. It had broken park of the plastic netting down, jumped between the electric wires and attacked my chickens. I ran it off (I am 5 months pregnant so this was probably funny to watch) and noticed my Crested polish dropped from it's mouth in the woods. Her feathers were everywhere and she was a mess. I got her inside, cleaned her up, crated her, and then went off to find the rest of the chickens. We found 6 of them unharmed and then spent an hour looking for our newest addition, Rye, who is 2 months old. My son found her and noticed she was bleeding. She has one puncture wound.

My Polish just died as I was cleaning her up again for the night, about half an hour ago. I didn't think she was going to make it but I had to try. Rye should be ok, she is up and walking and chirping. I followed advice I read on here and will continue to do so to she makes it.

What I want to know, is how can I prevent this from happening again? We live in a secluded area, in the woods and have let the chickens roam the yard when we are here. But I would hate for them to get attacked again. I also have some month old guineas I am raising to roost in the trees and would like to give them a fighting chance.

The coop has a built in open run but I guess I should put up a fence around it so they can leave the coop when we are not here. What kind of fence would be best? Electric would be tough but possibly do-able with enough cords. Also, should they never roam the yard even when we are here? Or should I bite the bullet and build a tractor so at least they can have some fresh greens and bugs. Or should I realize dogs are just going to eat my chickens and be at peace with it? I promise you, I will kill that dog if it sets foot in my yard again.

Looking for BTDT advice. What works for you to keep your chickens safe but with room to roam?

PS - fencing in the yard isn't an option
I agree about the dog but, you have to do something about the fencing to keep the next dog or predator out. How horrible to come home to that. Do you have photos to post of your coop, etc. so people on here can give you specific advice on bolstering what you have now?
The coop with attached run is air-tight. The dog and other dangerous creatures can't get in there. But they need more room to roam and eat grass, weeds and bugs. So I guess I need an additional fence around the coop to protect them from a dog. Also preferably something that could be moved to allow vegetation to grow again.

The chickens were in the garden, which has now been determined to totally not be safe for them to be left alone in. I learned that the hard way
So sorry to hear that....however, speaking from personal "dog predator" experience, it will be will. I had a dog get one of my ducks....and I was devastated. 9 days later, it came back. So that dog will try again. Set a trap and trap it.

Good luck!
I use electric poultry mesh with fiberglass stakes, which is relatively cheap, easy to assemble, and portable. I use 48" high mesh, but several of my spare stakes are 6' so I can run electrified tape higher up if I need to. I usually bait (peanut butter stuffed in foil envelopes) my fences when they've been moved, so any predators sniffing around will go after the baits first and figure out right quick that the fence is hot. I've never had any ground predators get any of my birds while behind these fences. I highly recommend them.

Good luck.

ETA- I also have 2 solar chargers so I can move the fences away from an electrical power source. Very handy.
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Thank you. This is perfect.

What kind of trap could I set for this dog? Or should I just say screw it and get a fence and hope it shocks itself.
Thank you. This is perfect.

What kind of trap could I set for this dog? Or should I just say screw it and get a fence and hope it shocks itself.

I don't bother trapping animals. If I trap something, I have to shoot it and haul it's heavy butt out into the woods, and that's an onerous task to me. I don't like killing animals. I feel that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I just make sure my birds are well-protected and then I don't need to worry. (I also live next to a wildlife corridor, so I could be trapping and shooting 365 days a year and still have predators coming out my ears.)
In Virginia it is legal to shoot a dog that is killing your chickens or livestock. This is a tough one, because I do animal rescue and have had as many as 17 foster dogs at my house. However, I would probably shoot or trap a dog that was killing my chickens. Our local animal shelter will lend out have-a-heart traps. They have all sizes. That might be an option. If caught, you can then take it to the shelter. Do you have any idea who owns the dog? It might be worth a call to the local animal control officer. Perhaps they know the dog and can tell the owners to keep the dog on their property.
It absolutely will be back though, you can lay money on that. Good luck. I've lost chickens to dogs and other predators, I feel for you.

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