I know it's a part of having chickens but it's still discouraging

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by tryingtohaveitall, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. tryingtohaveitall

    tryingtohaveitall Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Ohio
    A few months back, I tried to free range my chickens and my dog killed one.

    I wait a while til they were bigger, tried again. Came home from a meeting and one was dead in the grass. No more free ranging.

    Waited another month or more, tried again and it seemed to be going well. We don't free range every day but clearly they LOVE being out and about. We live on 5 acres but they're long, narrow lots so the neighbor houses aren't that far away.

    Yesterday the girls insisted on being let out earlier in the day than I'd usually let them out, but it was such a nice day and it had been going so well, I caved. I had to go to class last evening, came home and my two Buff Brahmas are gone, the neighbor's dog had been here and there are lots of feathers in the yard. [​IMG] One of my two white Brahmas is missing tail feathers and has some blood but appears to be ok. (I think he's a cockerel, so was quite a bit bigger than the Buff)

    I guess I need to give up on free ranging unless I can be there every second of the time they're out. It's just so discouraging. These Brahmas were from the one batch of eggs we incubated.

    It feels like at this rate, I'll have to start over every spring because by then I'll be down to no chickens. Is this really how it is?
  2. Luvin Life

    Luvin Life Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2009
    Brownsburg, Indiana
    I am so sorry for the loss of your hens. [​IMG]
  3. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    So sorry about your losses.

    Unfortunatly that is how it is around here. Seemed like everytime I let them out I lost one. 2 times I was only in the house for 5 min to get them treats.

    So now I only let them out while I can stand there and watch.

    Dogs are the worst IMO because they just kill to be killing. Lately all of my kills were wild predators which at least are looking for food. It still hurts tho. [​IMG]
  4. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Well, possibly, probably, unless you are there to guard them for now yeah. If you can fence your property realllly well, or somehow keep other dogs out of your yard, I guess it is how it's going to be. Mine have excellent cover, and no large dogs nearby so they wander freely, but I know my situation is the exception. THey are locked up tight overnight though cause we do have wildlife.

    I'm sorry you lost your hens, but I read here that a lot of people never let their flock out without standing guard the whole time they're out.
  5. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Have you talked to the dog owners. They have a responsibility to keep their dogs on their own property.
  6. Shannon's Chix

    Shannon's Chix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    N.E. Florida
    So sorry![​IMG]

    I have to ignore the pacing at the gate of my chickens when they want out...they have to wait till I can go out with them, too many irresponsible dog owners around here.[​IMG]
  7. tryingtohaveitall

    tryingtohaveitall Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Ohio
    I haven't talked to my neighbors about it because honestly, I feel like I knew the risks and I don't feel like I can throw stones.

    I really feel like I have only myself to blame, which is sickening. Though my husband and I had talked about it recently and he said something to the effect of, "people free range all over the world, I don't know why it can't work." Well, apparently they lose chickens all over the world too. I guess the good thing is that (so far) our coop has been predator proof, so if we leave them in the coop and run, they should be ok.
  8. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Yes, there is a risk to free ranging. However, your chickens in your yard should be safe. People have a responsibility to keep their dogs on their own property. Talk to the neighbors. Even if you keep your chickens in a run, a loose dog can kill or injure them by harrassing them through the fencing and causing them to panic and crash into the sides of the run. People have a resonsibility to their pets and their neighbors to not let their dogs roam.
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    You could build a sturdy tractor and have the best of both worlds. Your chickens could have access to fresh grass & dirt, yet they'd be protected from dogs. And you wouldn't have the expense of installing heavy fencing around your whole property. Look at all the photos of tractors folks have posted, ask on the coops forum for tips on making the best dog-proof tractor.

    Maybe you could even put them in a chain-link dog kennel, it's good for keeping dogs in, it should keep predatory dogs out. You'd have to add chicken wire or hardware cloth around the bottom few feet to keep the birds from sticking their little heads out.

    I'm sorry for your losses & discouragement...
  10. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    Quote:I'm really sorry to hear about the loss of your chicks. I wish I could free range on my 4 acres as well. I wish I could let my three dogs run the property free as well. But neither would be responsible in my mind as I have red tail, bald eagle and coyote visiting. (those are the preditors I have seen). I have three herding breed dogs that would LOVE to chase the chickens. Would they kill them or eat them? I haven't given them the opportunity to find out.

    I admire that you are taking responsibility for your own chickens. There's always going to be preditors of all kinds wanting to get to our chickens.

    As funds allow, I'm planning a cattle panel tractor covered in hardware cloth that aprons out for my girls. Until then, I bring them clumps of sod, fallen fruit, scratch mixed with oatmeal and black oiled sunflower seeds twice a day in their run and let them out when I'm there watching. They are fat, happy, fluffy butts.

    Best of luck to you with yours.

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