Dog Warning Reminder

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by steveholtam, Sep 25, 2012.

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  1. steveholtam

    steveholtam Out Of The Brooder

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    I see lots of posts about dogs and chickens with people having various tips about how to get the chickens and dogs happy together. From introducing the dogs to the chicks early on and lots of supervised exposure and the like. Well yesterday evening my 10 year old beagle, whom has been around my three chickens, from 6 days old, and for the past two months killed my favorite hen.

    I have built a really good coop and run, and that is where the chickens live most of the time. This coop/run combo is very robust, and they are very safe inside of it. But I also have a nice little garden with a smaller fenced area to keep my dog out. Since the hens are now about 2 months old, and much bigger, I figured they would be a bit safer out of the run and into the garden. They really love the garden since it is full of bugs, weeds, plants and the like. Much more natural then the run which is just dirt.

    Well yesterday I had the three ladies out in the evening as normal. I heard a loud chicken commotion and ran outside to see my dog chasing one of them down the side of the house, and another running across the yard. I quickly grabbed these two up and put them back into the safety of the run. I went looking for the third, hoping she was hiding in the tomatoes or something.

    Sadly, she was in the garden with what appeared to be a broken neck. It was very sad. My dog had pushed her way under a 4 foot length of pressure treated 4x4 that had the chicken wire attached to it. From the first sounds of commotion to when I got to the garden was about 30 seconds.

    So just as a warning, please be very careful of your dog(s). My dog showed nothing but simple curiosity about the chickens. She always seemed more interested in what I was feeding them then the chickens themselves. She is an old, fat, half blind beagle that looks about as harmless as any dog can. In just a few seconds though, she was able to kill a chicken. If I had taken another 60 seconds I am sure I would have no chickens left. I was really mad at the dog at first, but I know it is not her fault. Dogs kill chickens. I thought I was lucky and just had one of those dogs that I read about her that "protect" the chickens. Nope...

    Take care and enjoy your chickens! Just be very aware of the many threats that exist for these poor stupid birds we enjoy so much.

    Steve
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] Welcome, sorry for the circumstances. A lesson that all should pay heed to. Good on you for understanding that it was not the dog's fault.
     
  3. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    Do not take this wrong, it is not my intention to "rag" on you. Beagles are bred to hunt small to medium sized game. Chickens fall into this category. Sometimes instinct overrules training in dogs. I know that herding breeds are much more accepting of chickens and less likely to kill one. Also LGD are bred to protect livestock. Hunting dogs are always a risk when it comes to being around chickens. My neighbor has an Asalopso and Chiuahaha so I am always watching if they come near my fence. Although they are scared to death of my large Australian Shepherd, who would never hurt another dog. I am sorry for your loss though. Good luck with your remaining bird. And also note that now your Beagle has hunted and gotten a thrill kill it will most likely try again. Be ever watchful of the dog.
     
  4. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    to add on to what Turtle said above, 2 months is no where NEAR enough time to train a dog to be safe around chickens - especially unsupervised. At 2 months in, my dogs are still on a long line and are never allowed around the birds unsupervised.
     
  5. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would suggest putting a hotwire around any area your birds will be spending time. Letting the dog get zapped whenever it tries to approach the chickens would be a useful "negative reinforcement" for your dog.

    Agree with Turtle that the dog's breed needs to be taken into account and some dogs will simply never be able to be unsupervised around birds.
     
  6. CuriousKitten

    CuriousKitten New Egg

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    Old and half-blind animals are notorious for getting startled and defending themselves before they realize what startled them. Many humans and other companions get bit every year because of this. The same applies to animals who are a bit under the weather!

    With ANY smaller/vulnerable animal, always be extra cautious with older and/or visually impaired animals, however loving they may have been the past 10+ years.

    imho: part of the problems are also the fact that more people are getting chickens for the first time. This results in dogs that were not raised with chickens suddenly sharing the yard, and humans with said intruding chickens. These dogs weren't raised knowing that chickens are seriously _not prey_, and jealousy over the human(s) would also be as much of a factor as with any other animal being introduced to the pack.

    again imho: if it isn't a trained livestock guardian, in good health, it's interactions with the chickens should always be closely supervised.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I keep free-ranging dogs around free-ranging poultry unsupervised and the dog are of hunting breeds (bird dogs in this case) so can write with some authority on this. More time needed for training and beagles in my experience as they as a breed are prone to being a little hard headed. Your birds are juveniles, not hens or roosters yet and that makes things a bit more challenging. You as a poultry keeper committed two mistakes that are setting your efforts back a little. First, you under estimated your dog's ability or determination to get to your birds. Secondly, you grabbed birds up in front of dog and probably while being excited in a manner the dog could pick up on which says to dog getting birds is what we should do. With subsequent efforts direct you attention towards dog first and avoid looking at birds until dog is under control.
     
  8. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for mentioning the OP went after the birds first, centrarchid, rather than the dog. While I understand what the Steve was thinking, my instinct is to go after the threat, not rescue the threatened until it's safe to do so.
     
  9. steveholtam

    steveholtam Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the replies. Most of the replies were spot on. I am new to chickens. My dog has never been around birds. I did underestimate my dogs ability to get at the chickens. All the other stuff that was said.

    There is a lot to learn about chicken keeping, and this was a sad learning experience for my family. The chicken that was killed was a brown Americanas (or is it Amercuanas?). She was my least favorite personality wise, but my most favorite looks wise. Just a beautiful hen. :-(

    Earlier I went online and found a semi-local breeder that has a few of the exact same type and just about the same age. So tomorrow I'll be picking up another little hen to replace the lost one. So far in my chicken life I'm 50/50 on raising chickens. Not so good. One very young one died for no reason 10 days in and now this dog thing... (And the livery I get them at said that young chickens can and do die for unknown reasons.) The other two are happy and healthy though.

    I thought about giving up last night, but I am back in. I am even going to fortify the garden so that they can again have access to those yummy bugs. Hopefully someone will read this and learn from my mistakes.

    Edit.

    The chickens that were lose pretty much ran to me as the dog was chasing them. And even then my dog was still trying to get to them. They knew that I was safety and I picked them up as fast as I could, while pushing my dog away with my foot. It all happened really fast.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  10. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    Steveholtam, I appreciate you not taking the defensive with all the advice given on this thread. So many post wanting help and such and then get all defensive when we all try and help. Thank you
     
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