Lost my best hen today

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chicksandkids, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. chicksandkids

    chicksandkids Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 12, 2012
    The hubs and I started our chicken adventure back in February, working our way up to 3 Black Australorps, 5 White Plymouth Rocks, and 5 Red Sex Links. We built their coop inside our shed, with a doggie door to an enclosed outside run. We were worried about our neighbor's dogs, and today, were proven rightfully so.

    I let out the hens this morning, and got my kids on the bus. On the way back up the road, my friend mentioned the crazy neighbor's dogs were in my back yard. Sure enough, there they were. As I walked along my house, I finally got far enough back to see they had killed Baby Bertha, one of our Plymouth Rocks. She was our best layer - she laid every day and was the most friendly of our 13 hens. From what I can tell, she must've gotten curious about them being around the fencing, stuck her head out, and the dogs tore it off. By the time we had realized what had happened, the dogs were eating the head, and there were feathers everywhere. The carcass was just feathers, skin, and feet. They'd eaten all the meat off. Vicious, vile things. We called the police and animal control came and issued her a citation and fined her. But they can't take the dogs. So now we have to go to court to recover the costs of raising the hen from a 2 day old chick, plus lost income over eggs, etc.... The crazy woman thinks she's going to fight it in court because her dogs just "couldn't" have done this. Thankfully, I grabbed my phone and took photos of the dogs eating what was left of her, so I don't think she's got much of a defense.

    Just sad - I'm thankful it seemed quick and the hen didn't suffer, but she was my favorite. All I know is I'm in the market for a grumpy rooster who loves his ladies and hates strange dogs. And I own a firearm now, because the animal control officer said I'm within my rights to shoot anything that comes after my chickens.

    We have welded wire installed for the run, but I think I'm going to add the hardware cloth to it - we were going to tarp two sides for the winter anyway to help cut down on some wind, so maybe this will help keep the dogs off my chickens?
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    So sorry for your loss. It sounds like you are coping well and have good ideas for remedying the situation. Hardware cloth on just the bottom 2' will make a huge difference. And, being prepared to use your firearm may be necessary as they may well be back.

    I had a similar experience with my next-door neighbor's dogs a few years ago. My flock free-ranged my securely fenced backyard, but the dog dug a hole under the fence just big enough to get its head under, then lay in wait for a bird to go too close, grabbed it, and dragged it under the fence. Even though the dog was in its own yard, because it got its head under the fence and into mine (I later took photos of it laying in wait for another...) AC also fined them for a dog "running at large". Apparently this definition applies to the dog having any part of its body off its owner's property. AC took the neighbor to court and made them make repairs to the fence such that this could never happen again.

    I'm glad the law is working in your favor also, though sorry the neighbor won't take responsibility and just pay up. Ours wouldn't pay the replacement cost either but I was summoned to court as a witness and we hashed out an agreement that I wouldn't sue for damages as long as they made the repairs to the fence, and I never lost another bird after that.

    Good luck!
  3. KnobbyOaks

    KnobbyOaks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 10, 2012
    Central Texas
    Awww, me. That is really sad. So sorry for your loss and that you have to go to the trouble of protecting your chickens in your own yard from neighborhood dogs.

    Welcome to BYC.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  4. bucky52

    bucky52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2011
    so sorry for the loss of your beloved hen.sometimes you have to take matters in your own hands.if need be use your firearm.because if it happen to me i would.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by