I clucked up, the value of a rooster.

Quackter

Songster
May 15, 2019
374
1,513
198
I have a few different breeds of chickens, some older existing flock, and some new blood hatched this spring. My intentions were to separate them into three breeding quartets, (three hens and a roo, if that's the term), in tractors, plus a yard flock. I culled, and sold, and had the numbers where I wanted them for winter. They were still grouped together by age, confined space you have to be careful introducing.
After over 15 years of being my foot warmer, shadow, and all around best buddy, my little mutt sired his first litter. Pushing it on age and he is a "yard pooper", but I wanted a pup from him. It's very much like adopting out grandchildren, and we won't even advertise them, only offer once we hear someone fussing over them or lamenting of their passed on buddy. With all that digression, we are simply over dogged at the moment.
For three months the "yard flock" and the pups, now dogs shared the fenced area in harmony, then I started sorting the flocks to the way I wanted them. "R*py Dave"(for Walking Dead fans) a two year old Barred rock Rooster was removed from the yard to a tractor, and replaced with a juvenile Buff Orphinton. A few juvenile hens were added to the yard to free up tractor space, and the yard has plenty of space and hiding spots.
Sure enough two days after the first sort I find one of the small RIR hens dead in the yard, the back of he head was pecked out, no other damage. I am 99% which hen did it, I had seen her harassing at feeding time, figured they had plenty of room and would be fine. I was wrong. I took the "boss" hen out, to shake up the pecking order, everything was fine for a day.
Two days later I come home to see feathers scattered, three chickens dead, and four missing. Two of the missing chickens I found dead, dragged into the bushes. One luckily was just hiding really well in the bushes, and the other was dead hid by the dogs, bones pieces dragged out later. After months of no incident, the cute wittle puppies developed a tasted for chicken.
I am thinking there were three main precipitants. A. Just the restructuring of the pecking order caused the flopping and chasing that triggers the dogs hunting instinct. B. The young hen lost to infighting may have let them get a taste for blood. As in they may have realized their was delicious blood inside that feather wrapper. C. R*py Dave protects his flock. Dave went back into the yard, the young buff roo was killed. The dogs are let out to run and do their business under close watch. Dave is on them, flops and pecks. My poor old dad mutt ends up getting it too, even though he isn't aggressive with the chickens.
I know most of what I did wrong. Maybe it will help somebody else.
Growing up where I did, a chicken killer was a dead dog. I've heard there are a couple of ways to break them of it that weren't really known decades ago. I am going to try shock collars and hiding. They won't do it in front of me and are really good vocal controlled, but if I turn the corner it's "play" time. I have seen it on some YT vids. It make sense that it would work. From the dogs' view it would be like the unseen hand of God smiting them, omnipresent. We'll see, I'll post about it either way. Anybody got any good advice on breaking them of it?

*Edit, It was my poor writing, but I think most are misunderstanding two points. I need to clarify. First, the dogs are in zero danger of being euthanized. I wouldn't kill the neighbors dog for killing chickens, even though the neighbor said to. I'm damn sure not going to kill my own. I just meant that where I grew up, that was deemed the only solution, neighbors depended on each other, everyone had chickens, and you kept the peace. It was accepted as a behavior that couldn't be fixed. The second, the younger rooster was killed by the dogs in the initial attack, I didn't court martial him for cowardice. So any visions of a blindfolded roo smoking his last cigarette.....
 
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AltonaAcres

Crowing
Jan 13, 2019
3,276
5,724
436
My chickens (in tractor coops, runs, or just free ranging) are all enclosed in an acre sized area by an 11 foot fence. It keeps our dogs (who like to chase chickens) out. it was built using scrap wire, and was put up very quickly so it doesn't keep much out, but it does the trick for dogs. Otherwise, I don't know how to stop a dog who has already decided he loves eating, chasing, and catching chickens. Maybe purchase a protective rooster or pair of geese.
 

slbenter

Songster
8 Years
Mar 24, 2013
138
392
216
Dover Tennessee
I'm a retired dog trainer. Have used collars of all kinds, and positive reinforcement.
If you use a shock collar, Make sure it fits correctly, and that you let the dog get used to having it on without getting any shocks for a few days. Just keep them away from the chickens.

On the day you want to begin using it, you are going to have to be stealthy so the dog doesn't see you. It must think you aren't around. With behavior that happens only when you're absent, I have instructed people (and have done this myself with my own dog,) drive away down your street, park, and walk back to your house quietly. Dogs know the sound of your car engine.
Don't get worried and set the shock on a very low setting. That's a common mistake, and it can set you up to do more harm than good by desensitizing the dog to the collar.
Start with a strong setting, but don't max it out.
When you witness the dog starting to fixate on the hunt, staring at the chickens or beginning to take off for one, THAT is the time to press the button. You want to deter the act before they're close enough to the bird to do any damage. To think about killing the chicken is the punishable act.
Normally I don't give much advise about training, but if you follow a few common sense rules and fit the collar properly, it has saved many a dog from euthanasia at the local shelters.
You can also go online and watch some videos on collar training, but there's probably a ton of people claiming to be trainers that don't have a lot of experience, and I've been retired for a good many years, so I don't know who's currently out there that I'd feel good about recommending.
Good luck to you.
 

Quackter

Songster
May 15, 2019
374
1,513
198
My chickens (in tractor coops, runs, or just free ranging) are all enclosed in an acre sized area by an 11 foot fence. It keeps our dogs (who like to chase chickens) out. it was built using scrap wire, and was put up very quickly so it doesn't keep much out, but it does the trick for dogs. Otherwise, I don't know how to stop a dog who has already decided he loves eating, chasing, and catching chickens. Maybe purchase a protective rooster or pair of geese.
It looks like all the chickens are going back in tractors for now, I need the fenced in area for now for the dogs. The protective rooster is back in the yard for now, he doesn't hesitate, I don't think the dogs will kill him like the younger one. I like your idea of geese, actually have one, but unfortunately it would be just a little too close to the house for me.
 

Quackter

Songster
May 15, 2019
374
1,513
198
I'm a retired dog trainer. Have used collars of all kinds, and positive reinforcement.
If you use a shock collar, Make sure it fits correctly, and that you let the dog get used to having it on without getting any shocks for a few days. Just keep them away from the chickens.

On the day you want to begin using it, you are going to have to be stealthy so the dog doesn't see you. It must think you aren't around. With behavior that happens only when you're absent, I have instructed people (and have done this myself with my own dog,) drive away down your street, park, and walk back to your house quietly. Dogs know the sound of your car engine.
Don't get worried and set the shock on a very low setting. That's a common mistake, and it can set you up to do more harm than good by desensitizing the dog to the collar.
Start with a strong setting, but don't max it out.
When you witness the dog starting to fixate on the hunt, staring at the chickens or beginning to take off for one, THAT is the time to press the button. You want to deter the act before they're close enough to the bird to do any damage. To think about killing the chicken is the punishable act.
Normally I don't give much advise about training, but if you follow a few common sense rules and fit the collar properly, it has saved many a dog from euthanasia at the local shelters.
You can also go online and watch some videos on collar training, but there's probably a ton of people claiming to be trainers that don't have a lot of experience, and I've been retired for a good many years, so I don't know who's currently out there that I'd feel good about recommending.
Good luck to you.
It all sounds like really good advice, and especially on getting the collars tight. I've been blessed with a pretty good natural way with animals, dogs even a little more so. I definitely understand the difference between corrective and vindictive. My girlfriend and I have a conversation every now and again, about how once she tells a dog not to do something and it doesn't, that it's now a positive. That a "good (dogs name)" is needed....Every time
We'll see how it goes, thanks for taking the time. I'll keep you posted.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,278
38,620
1,096
southern Michigan
The puppies I raised years ago all learned at young ages the chickens were off limits, and things were good.
Now I have rescue adult dogs, terriers, and a very safe fenced yard, and I've gotten lazy. So, when the fence fails, or a young bird is in the yard, the dogs kill them. My fault!
Am I going to try to retrain them, haven't so far, and am thinking it will be very difficult.
Mary
 

Quackter

Songster
May 15, 2019
374
1,513
198
The puppies I raised years ago all learned at young ages the chickens were off limits, and things were good.
Now I have rescue adult dogs, terriers, and a very safe fenced yard, and I've gotten lazy. So, when the fence fails, or a young bird is in the yard, the dogs kill them. My fault!
Am I going to try to retrain them, haven't so far, and am thinking it will be very difficult.
Mary
The puppies I raised years ago all learned at young ages the chickens were off limits, and things were good.
Now I have rescue adult dogs, terriers, and a very safe fenced yard, and I've gotten lazy. So, when the fence fails, or a young bird is in the yard, the dogs kill them. My fault!
Am I going to try to retrain them, haven't so far, and am thinking it will be very difficult.
Mary
Same here, I was real proactive on these guys. Introduced them early and let them know not to, then something changed. It's not going to be easy I know. I am going to document my progress and failures on this and either do a little article or video. I'll post it, maybe my trials and errors will help.
 

varidgerunner

Crowing
7 Years
Aug 16, 2013
1,096
1,312
256
My grandfather had a saying, about children. "A boy is a boy. two boys is half a boy, and three boys is no boy at all." Meaning you can expect srew-ups, and the larger the group the more you can expect. Peer pressure and one-upsmanship lead to juvenile behavior spurring even more juvenile behavior. Applies to dogs, too. A pup is bad enough, two pups is worse, a whole litter is basically a pack of coyotes.
 

Quackter

Songster
May 15, 2019
374
1,513
198
My grandfather had a saying, about children. "A boy is a boy. two boys is half a boy, and three boys is no boy at all." Meaning you can expect srew-ups, and the larger the group the more you can expect. Peer pressure and one-upsmanship lead to juvenile behavior spurring even more juvenile behavior. Applies to dogs, too. A pup is bad enough, two pups is worse, a whole litter is basically a pack of coyotes.
Oh yeh, you're grandfather is right. There was a ring leader, then a pack deal. Any one of them will individually cuddle with the cat, together it always escalates to a tangle.
 

so lucky

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 31, 2011
1,249
2,852
372
SE Missouri
My grandfather had a saying, about children. "A boy is a boy. two boys is half a boy, and three boys is no boy at all." Meaning you can expect srew-ups, and the larger the group the more you can expect. Peer pressure and one-upsmanship lead to juvenile behavior spurring even more juvenile behavior. Applies to dogs, too. A pup is bad enough, two pups is worse, a whole litter is basically a pack of coyotes.
I've known about that saying for a long time, too, and have used it a time or two. I hadn't thought about applying it to dog behavior, but it seems to work!
 

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