In the Brooder
- May 26, 2012
Hello all! It's been quite some time since I last posted. Anyways, I have some sad news to report. The beginning of spring this year I acquired 6 little peeps to raise and get some eggs from. I had an interesting mix of beautiful chickens. I enjoyed watching them all grow big and healthy. Well, the sad part of this story is that I am down to one of my original flock. See, I decided to get a puppy for the wife on mother's day plus we already had an older dog as well. The older dog, Brad, is really well behaved and never once was a problem for my chickens so long as they were in their coop. Well, one of my chickens decided he wanted to fly out of his outside coop. My older dog happened to be outside at the time and got a hold of him but was caught in the act and the young rooster was saved. So naturally I realized I needed to tighten up security and they all had their wings clipped. Thanks to that incident, the young roo was injured so he had to be seperated from the rest. Later on during the summer the I was gone to the local gas station for maybe 10-15 minutes and I had that same roo and one of my girls in the outside coop. When I returned from the gas station I noticed the puppy was inside the outside coop. I initially figured she was just chasing the chickens around because she had gotten in there before and chased the whole flock around but didn't do any harm. But as I walked closer to the coop I noticed Brad was in there too. I automatically had that sinking feeling in my stomach. Sure enough both of the dogs each had themselves a really nice lunch of my two favorite birds. So, needless to say I had to tighten up security again. Before I would let the 4 remaining birds outside again I had to go around and block any space that was big enough for the puppy to slip through. A week or so later, even though all wings were clipped and all holes were blocked, one of my Easter Eggers got out of the outside coop and wasn't lucky enough to survive the jaws of Brad....UGH!!! So, finally I've had enough of them getting eaten by the dogs. It's the end of summer and it's time for the last 3 birds to stay in anyways so I kept them all inside without incident for a few weeks. About a month ago I was out running errands and left the two dogs outside for the day. On my way home my son calls me to inform me that 2 of the remaining 3 birds were dead and were outside. He went inside the coop and noticed the dogs had broken in the coop to get lunch. Naturally I am furious. I never had a problem with the dogs going into the building where the inside coop is so I never really was too concerned about major security issues in there. Brad always respected his boundries which told me it had to be the puppy that caused all this drama. Fortunately, the one egg laying bird I had survived all the commotion and was returned to the coop unscathed. I obviously had to tighten up the security in the inside coop thanks to the puppy. So, a week goes by and I find 3 Barred Rock hens that needed a new home and I pick them up. I know that there could be potential problems with older birds but I made sure to keep an eye on things. One of the new hens seemed overly aggresive. I decided that maybe a rooster could fix that so I found a Lavender Orpington that needed a new home. Well, that didn't work out so well. After one night in the coop I go in to check in on them and how they're getting along and noticed the new rooster was badly beaten up. I knew it was that hen. I removed the roo from the coop and placed him on his own to heal up. I decided I had to get rid of that aggresive hen being I have no attachment to the 3 new girls yet. They all look the same so I took my one remaining bird from the original flock and put her on the ground so I could figure out which one was the mean one. Just as I thought she attacked. Needless to say she is in the freezer now. The new Roo is healing up just fine and has been reintegrated into the coop. The girls are all getting along now that the one girl is gone and it seems everything is going to be ok. So, those of you that are new to this heed my tale. Security is your number one priority to keep your birds safe even if you plan on eating them later. Also, it is wise to slowly introduce new birds into the coop so you don't have to cull a bird right away, although some birds might be naturally aggressive. I know a pecking order has to be established but there are times you have to upset the order if cannabalism happens in your coop. Thanks for reading and I hope that the newbies don't make the same mistakes I have made in this process. We all are learning from our birds every day even if it is the hard way. Take care and good luck!!