Dog or fence for predators

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Lyranonamous, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Lyranonamous

    Lyranonamous Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2013
    Yesterday a fox or coyote similar took my Speckled Sussex during the day. We are also missing 3 barn kittens and feel it's probably the same predator (but can't be sure of that).

    My girls are locked in at night and nothing has ever happened to them at night. There's hard wire on the windows of the coop, concrete floor, two doors, both secured twice, etc. So I think they are safe at night. ( I hope I don't regret saying that)

    Day time is when we are losing our chickens.....every one we've lost over the past 3 years has been during the day. We have lost 7 to neighbors dogs, foxes and other predators-which is far too many.

    So fa we've tried the Premium 1 electric netting and they just fly over it. We could try getting the taller netting. We have tried a 6 foot chain link dog fence. That's where are now and they are miserable because it's so small (12 sections), and I hate it because they are more vulnerable to hawks. We could get more panels, or a professionally installed fence....

    We need a permanent solution and we would welcome any advice and opinions!!

    My question is: are we better off with a fenced yard (we would need to fence about an acre) or getting a dog? If we have a dog what kind are people happy with? (I know there will be a lot of opinions on this-which is great) How long does it take until a dog "gets it" and takes care of the chickens? (I know some dogs just know what to do but assuming he doesn't-know how many months of training until the dog is up and running?) If you have a dog that helps to guard them, do you leave him outside all day? (and in that case I guess he isn't coming with you to do shopping etc.)
    We have been thinking about an English Shepherd for several years-but when I imagine having a dog, the dog would be with us all day (as my last dog was before we got chickens-she was at my side all the time) are people able to spend time with said dog if it's always with the hens? If we got a fence what do folks recommend? I would of course bury some of the wire under the ground.
    Some logistics-we have 2.5 acres and can't fence all of it. A small section is wooded, some is part of a corn field (where I believe the fox came from...) There's various trees and brush that until yesterday the hens loved to scratch away in. We live on a farm road but there's still a fair amount of speeding cars-
    We have 6 adult hens and 6 babies.

    Again we welcome advice and solutions to this.
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Oh boy - you are going to get lots of opinions on this. That's a good thing. You can take what works for you and throw the rest out. Something to consider: a fence is more guarantee of safety for your chickens, as you don't have to train it. You know it's going to do what you want it to (if the chickens will cooperate and not fly over it). You can clip wings to keep them from flying over the fence. How long it takes for a dog to "get it" depends a lot on the breed of the dog and how much time you're willing to invest in training. A fence will always be there. It's not going to wander off, and it won't want to come in for the night. If you get a dog that's by your side all the time, it's not going to be much of a chicken guard, is it? Maybe a chicken tractor would be an answer for you. A moveable pen for your birds. These of course are all merely suggestions and things for you to think about. My chickens free range much of the time unless we're gone for a few days or I feel there is a threat to them. Then they are in the coop with attached run. Our run is covered to keep them in and other climbing or flying predators out.
  3. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Both. You need both. And to start trapping predators
    What kind of hens do you have? I have a standard picket fence, maybe 3' high and they never try to go over it. They will jump up on a fence with a flat top rail, gotta have a pointy top that deters them from landing
  4. Lyranonamous

    Lyranonamous Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2013
    I have Speckled Sussex (just one now), Wyandottes, Brahma, Australop, and Welsumer. They all fly out of the 42 inch fence without landing on it.
    In NY we can't trap or relocate wildlife-anyway if I did so another fox would enter the territory........We also have tons of coyote, raccoons, occasionally bears, and bobcats in this region.
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    You can't relocate critters, but you should be able to trap and kill predators who are killing your birds! Raptors can't be touched, but a safe coop and run will discourage repeat visits from a hawk. Neighbor dogs need to be managed, and neighbors can at least pay damages, and keep their dogs at home. Total safety will require confining your flock in a safe coop and run all or most of the time; something that many people finally do. Livestock guardian dogs are a major project, in time and money, and definitely aren't for everyone, or every situation. Mary
    1 person likes this.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Your flock is small. Area it requires is small as well. Dogs better suited for larger areas to be defended and very expensive. Small size makes so you can invest more in fencing to both keep chickens in and predators out. Clip wings to stop topping of fence. Make so you have two electrified perimeters; inner of poultry netting and outer very close to inner that zaps predator when it tries to setup up for a jump over the fence.
  7. ADuckOnQuack

    ADuckOnQuack Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2016
    There are loads of cheap deterrents that will keep the predators away. You can consider things like placing wind chimes- restricted if you've got neighbours, foxes don't like
    Unusual sounds and will quickly run off. If your attacked by raptors put out blank cd discs on some string or if your creative make a stare crow, saves you standing outside ok guard. We have 2 or 3 and haven't had a problem since- touch wood[​IMG]. I've seen you can get fox/cat censored buzzers going off every 30 seconds or so, not sure if they truly work. If you have a close electricity supply by the coop put a radio inside so that when the predator comes in the day it will hear the voices on the radio and soon scarper. Radios are common deterrents around here. Also planting strong scented plants or flowers around your perimeter can keep away pests, but the main one I've heard everyone round here say is cover the outskirts of where the birds are with urine, it has to be male. I know for a fact that foxes won't come near it again if it sniffs it. Good luck [​IMG]
  8. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Call your local state fish and wildlife agency office and ask about a predation permit.
  9. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2016
    Ontario, Canada
    So in the past hour I have gone from thinking that I lost 2 1 0 girls to a daytime predator. I live in country and have similar predators to the OP (Ontario, Canada). I have had daytime coyote attacks previously. I have a one acre yard surrounded by fields either side and wooded Ra one behind. The fence is currently being completed but still has open sections. There was a VERY loud beagle with a crazy nose tied up on a running lead in the back yard that allows her approx 50' of running length. She suddenly went nuts at 9:30am and when I went running out there was a huge pile of feathers about 10 feet from where she can reach. I immediately rounded everyone up and got them in the coop...2 missing. I then followed the feathers and found another big pile heading towards the ravine off my property. No blood. At this time my chocolate lab (who had been inside at the time of attack) chased something through the ravine and away from the house. I searched one more time and found one missing chicken hiding under deck who seemed very shaken. As I was carrying her towards the coop I heard another chicken in the front yard. So nobody missing! Upon inspecting everyone inside the coop I found that the shaken one is missing a 2" wide strip of feathers on her back-no punctures or wounds of any kind. She was extremely lucky. I will review my camera's surveillance but they aren't covering the area where the feathers were found (they r meant to capture 2 legged predators). I tell you all of this because I'm not sure that a fence or a dog is a 100% solution. I can't believe that whatever grabbed that chicken did so that close to a dog going nuts. My girls will be kept contained for at least a few days as I know it will be back. Ultimately you do the best you can. I'm very sorry to hear about your girl.
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    If I were facing the same situation as the original poster, I think it would take me about an hour or so to build myself a 3 or 4 wire electric fence around an acre or so of enclosed poultry pasture and what I would build would be pretty certain to keep most 4 legged predators like coyotes, foxes and such out. But unless I was willing to go an extra step and find a way to kill all the vegetation beneath the wires, I would also have to commit to spending an hour or so a week maintaining it to keep the vegetation from growing up high enough to short my fence out. I'd have to mow up one side and down the other to keep the pathway clear, and maybe weed eat now and then or else move the fence off to one side to help with that.

    If I were willing to take on that additional amount of work, I think I could keep them safe, provided they would also stay on the inside. With one of those hot wires being about 5 inches or so off the ground....and a full acre, they might. That fence would be there waiting for the varmints 24/7 and 365 days a year.

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