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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Jul 25, 2015.
We are going into another night with a lot of barking. Darn cats are staying in messing around on my lap as I type.
Great-horned Owls again the source of disturbance, One is calling directly over pens in front yard. Dogs are sitting back on porch simply watching now. Perch used is power line pole.
Ben just killed two American Dominique juveniles from a mating I am already short on. Birds housed in same pen critter tried to chew into a couple nights before. I saw what he was doing before I realized he got birds out. He was flushing them from below. I have several groups of chickens of that age but only this group suffered losses. Other groups even in areas dogs spend more time in. A key factor appears to be actual pen design. It is not about how strong the pen is, rather it is what how the chickens react to stimuli from the outside and dogs reaction to what they detect on the inside. Pen design will be explored to suppress this when pup still problematic. I will make so birds can go where dog can not see them from below. This might be appropriate for all pens down the road.
I been reading following the dogs progress. For what its worth part of my strategy for fortification on my next coop will be a sight guard. Poultry house will be 24 x 24... and have solid walls up at least 24 inches maybe even 36... topped with 12.5 gauge cage wire. there will be four partitions for my setup with one partition designed to be flexible for various needs.
Here in the desert I only need wind protection while it does get cold the birds can handle that So at least one wall will be solid all the way up. Then there will be a solid tin Roof. Up till now I have only had tarps but I am tired of replacing them and the detritus they leave.
Since I spoke to you last I had predators come in and WIPE out all my birds... and killed my goats. In my case it was a cascade failure on my part... So am following your dog training with interest. My fortification materials are still on hand. I just need to have help to build the roof. The rest I can do myself.
I have Mountain Lion and Bobcat as well as Coyotes, Desert Foxes, and feral dogs My fence will be cattle panels fortified with hot wire. The horse side of the fence is patrolled by my horse... Shes deadly accurate with her hooves I have seen her punch a chunk of plywood out of a pen the size of a dinner plate.
Free ranging will only be supervised here till I can re establish a presence. But when I do the only birds that will be allowed to free range will be ones that are very good fliers.
My construction materials of choice:
Dog Kennel panels
Sheet metal roof
Plywood walls made of recycled Garage doors.
Cattle panels for fencing lined with Welded wire. The Cattle panels are 4 gauge so very strong but the openings are too big and would allow predators through. I hope to keep dog/poultry interaction to a minimum.
I will be constructing a couple of runs for my American Dominiques and they may very well be like you suggest. Problem would still exist for early juveniles that I have been keeping elevated and in discrete groups. Separate groups required to protect from loosing all at once and keeping ages classes apart.
First cool night of fall season. Predators making major changes to ranging habits.
Much happened last night much. Great-horned owls in plain sight a lot. They mean to cause harm. Took get control back over pup he has been penned in house and taken walks with leash around property. Both dogs then confined to house and they barked a lot. At about 0015 daughter requested a bottle so wife got up to get it (her turn). Wife noticed a cat wanted in really bad so she opened door for that. Shortly after wife in bed a coyote began barking in front yard right next to pen. Dogs were going bonkers. I let dogs out and they engaged in a barking contest with the coyote as they slowly approached. I followed in shoes and underwear only but had a flashlight. Coyote ran when it saw me and dogs began scent marking all over where coyote had been then they starting patrolling property. I found fence to cockyard was turned off but no damage. Dogs barked for much of time until dawn.
Scoob not being here is the cause of this. House invader night before last I think was a coyote and it is going after the cats. I would like to steal a neighbors big dog so we have more fighting power.
Images below show signs pup harassed birds in pens. Images not as good as seeing first hand.
Pup ran around pens first disturbing vegetation smashing it down. Then as vegetation broken down it began to form a distinct ring. Most extreme case in third picture shows where ground starts getting muddy. Pup also chewed on fencing.
Red Fox prone to show same signs during daylight. Night time events chickens do not behave in manner that promotes dog / fox to run around perimeter so much.
Pictures of compensation methods to be shown tomorrow which is my default approach when I do not have dogs of any sort in winter.
Ben needs more work then I was thinking. How long of a time frame are the 3 Pic's?
Ben will likely be a problem through next spring at least. He would be exceptional if not. I got over confident because of his lack of interest initially. He does not do such with pens in cockyard where he does not piddle fart around when bored. This problem most likely to be manifested in yard where he has his mental down time. Idle mind makes for trouble.
Damage to ground likely down to all three pens in less than an hour. Ground being soft from rain sped process.