Getting sick of dogs killing my chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Chicken Keith, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2010
    Nothing compares to a good perimeter fence tha contains your LGD. It must be a true flock guardian dog that is born and raised in a poultry yard. This type of set up is an almost guaranteed method to keep predators away from your fowl. As long as the guardian is kept from roaming and he has been raised as a guardian and not a pet.
    A .380 isn't a good weapon for dispatching predators. You need something with some range. It's not typical to get within 20 ft of something killing your fowl.
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Time for layers and possibly a hardened core backed up with additional hotwire. I use such for broodfowl. Free-range only with direct supervision. Lesser value birds are those free-ranged all summer and surrounded only by electrified poultry netting. I use dogs also but they cost a lot more even without concern over law suites. Shooting is hard to pull off when most attacks occuring when you are not home. Shooting also dicey when it comes to long-term arrangements with neighbors.

    I know the challenges of other peoples dogs and they can make free-range poultry keeping impractical if you are not willing / able to invest in heavier duty fencing.
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Free ranging is impossible for me too if I want my birds alive. Tried it when I first started out years ago, was just serving up lunch for predators and entertainment for roaming dogs so no more of that. My birds "free range" in about 3/4+ acre fenced pasture. Permanent fence, goat fencing with hot wire strung along the inside and outside about a foot high. Wouldn't hurt to have a strand along the top as well. Keeps the goats off the fence inside and discourages dogs and others on the outside who come sniffing around looking to get in. I have not lost a bird to any predator, dog or otherwise, since I started this years ago so it has been more then worth it. As Ridgerunner said, you can only control what you do, you cannot control others or make them be responsible, never going to happen. If it's not these Huskies it will be another dog or a predator, it just never ends. If there is any way to fence in a pasture for your birds your chicken raising experience will be a lot better. Nothing is ever perfect and things can still happen obviously, but having a safe enclosure makes a world of difference.
  4. poorfarm

    poorfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2016

    First, have you used a fence tester to check the voltage all around your fence? Also, what kind of charger are you using? Second, Opinionated Opinion coming up here, in my decades of experience with electric fencing I have found that you want a fence charger from West Virginia Fence company in Lindside WV, nowhere else. There's no comparison on the strength of the charger from any other source, no matter what voltage they claim. WV solar chargers , with one of their nets, is used up north around beehives to keep bears out of the hives. Yes bears, and yes it is successful. So if dogs got through your fence, there's something wrong there.

    When I had my big farm I had sheep, chickens and turkeys free ranging. I also had a female English Mastiff living with them. Never lost anything and the dog was totally trustworthy even with lambing ewes and newborn lambs, blood and birth fluids etc. That was a dog-eating, coyote-eating dog, and big enough to handle pretty much anything. Also perfectly safe if the neighbor's toddler got inside the fence, the toddler would just be added to what should be protected. The downside on the mastiffs is
    1. giant breeds don't live too long, 10 years is a long life
    2. breeders don't want to sell you a dog for working, they only want to sell to people who will show
    3. cost. You really have to hunt around to find a non-show dog, as in less than $1500
    4. probably not an issue with a poultry operation, but mastiffs are short coated and need shelter (like in a barn cuddled up with warm sheep) in winter
    5. be very picky about where you buy from, many lines of giant breeds have multiple genetic problems like shoulder dysplasia

    I currently have a Maremma livestock dog with my chickens, pasture is fenced 5 feet high with 2x4 inch welded wire, one electric tape at waist height and one up on top of posts about 6-7 feet because I need a deer deterrent also. Nothing, I mean nothing, is coming in here with that dog. He is only 80 lbs. and there are no show Maremmas, so there aren't the genetic health problems. He's long coated, won't use any shelter even in below zero. The downsides?
    1. the puppies have to be trained not to "play" with poultry. Sheep and large animals don't seem to be a problem, but ducks running away triggers a chase response. The best way to do this is with a hunting dog electric shock collar, which some people think inhumane (no, it's not)
    2. they seem to take a long time to mature from puppy mentality to adult responsibility, I'd say absolute minimum 1 year and closer to 2 years, compared to the mastiff, who was working before a full year old. Of course, the Maremma lives longer too.
    3. they are specialty working dogs and expensive, mine was cheap at $750
    4. they are working dogs only, NOT suitable as house pets or in small yards. If they don't have a territory to patrol and protect they can get very weird. For this reason breeders won't sell you one if you haven't either got acreage/farm, or have experience with livestock dogs. I only have 3 and a half fenced acres and that is pushing it with one of these guys.

    Other dogs are possible, be aware that Great Pyrenees often deter predators by continuous barking, like all night, (Maremma only barks if there's something out there) and can bother you or upset the neighbors. You can often find crossbreds of various livestock breeds for around $200 for a pup, Anatolian, Maremma, Pyr, etc mixes . in local farm newspapers.

    But your own livestock protection dog is the way to go. I've never lost a bird, never lost a sheep, in an area where beef cattle calves were killed by coyotes, and there were no stray cats because they were all eaten. Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  5. poorfarm

    poorfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2016
    Hello Holly,

    If your electric fence is killing your chickens there's something wrong with it. I've used high power (10,000 volts) electric fence for decades and the only way it could kill even the smallest bird is if something got stuck in it and got repeatedly shocked enough to interfere with the heart's own electric signal. A proper electric fence will only give a millisecond shock, and won't burn or get hot etc. Make sure you aren't trying to run a "weedburner" charger or similar.
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Electric 4 ft poultry fencing would do wonders. Trick is to get the dogs to investigate the fence and be trained via shock before they (if they can) learn to jump over it.

    I spent the morning casting some .357 boolits. If you've a big bore air riffle I'll ship you some free of charge. The 122 grain semi wad cutter would be humane subsonic dispatch. Sam Yang Recluse is a nice big bore out to 50 yards stock power. Tuned they can really reach out there.

    Any of these would work for dog. Left to right is under sized .360 SWC dropped @ 122 grain, .360 ball 71 grain, and .358 97 grain round nose for distance shot.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  7. critterkeeper25

    critterkeeper25 Chillin' With My Peeps

    My sympathies to you and your family for having to go through this ordeal. I can only imagine your heartbreak. We had 3 hens killed by a fox this summer. Our chickens are pets. We were all heartbroken.

    I find it infuriating that it should be the responsibility of the ones with the property loss, due to the negligence of neighbors that don't contain their pets, to keep their property safe. Those people that owned the dogs that killed your hens got off easy.

    I think that you got some excellent advice from TalkALittle. Forwarning of the demise of their dogs, should they trespass onto your property and kill more of your hens, just might make them secure their dogs. And, it would help your case should they call the police because you killed one or both of them. Maybe just filling their hides with birdshot, so that they had to take them to the vet and pay to have them cared for, would also work.The all mighty dollar seems to be excellent motivation in many circumstances in life. It is obvious that they care nothing for your situation, either monetary or emotional, even though they are the cause of it all.

    As for your fencing. We have horses and use electric wire to ensure that they stay in their pasture. I myself have accidently touched it and have yelped in pain. Maybe something with a little more "juice" would help you out. A charger with an electric pulse (not continuous current) used for fencing in livestock, might work better. I would only use it on the outside of your fence. Years ago, a neighbor that I had as a kid had a horse and had electric wire along the top of the fence to keep her horse from leaning on the wire and pushing it down to climb over it to get out. The charger plugged into an outlet outside her house, it had a constant currant. Sparrows would land on the hot wire and step on the regular square wire fince and would die from electricution. I wouldn't want that to happen to your chickens.

    Good luck to you. I hope you find a way to better protect your flock from those dogs. [​IMG]
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Poultry fencing and all small scale electric are meant for pulse chargers. Only large area permanent tensile wire is connected to constant current chargers as a weed burner to keep from shorting out. It's a maintenance thing then.
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Sorry for your frustrating losses. It sounds like it's time to beef up your security. You're right, you shouldn't "have to" keep other peoples' dogs fenced out of your property, but as a chicken keeper, it is your responsibility to keep them safe. That might mean a sturdy run for them for a while until the dog problem is resolved. I'm not sure why the electric poultry netting didn't work (it should have), but if it were my flock, I'd have them in a very secure run, with strands of electric around the run. I'd have that hotwire starting about 4" off the ground, and then go up another 4" for several strands. As far as the dogs - you have no idea if it was the same two or not, so not much you can do about that. A game cam would have given you some needed evidence there. You can get a "chicken loving dog that hates other dogs", but how much can you afford in vet expenses if that dog gets torn up by a couple of strays? Pretty sure that would be spendy, too.
  10. KYTinpusher

    KYTinpusher Master Enabler

    Sep 3, 2011
    Northern KY
    I agree with most of what you say, but not the idea for the birdshot. Most law enforcement will tell you if you are going to shoot an animal, shoot to kill. Shooting to hurt or maim can be considered animal cruelty. Just my $.02.

    @Chicken Keith I am sorry for your loss [​IMG] and you have a lot of options mentioned here that you can explore. I hope you find a solution that works for you soon.

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