Lost Some of my Chickens to Prowling Dogs - Update! I Was Wrong!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Chickmate, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. Chickmate

    Chickmate Songster

    Nov 10, 2009
    SE Michigan
    Update to my message below. This morning at 5:30 I looked out the window to see if my last missing EE hen might be hanging out by the coop to get in, but she wasn't. Who WAS hanging out by the coop and sniffing the ground where I buried my six dead birds was a large red fox! When I opened the door she bolted around the pond and back into the woods at the spot where I found five of the dead chickens. I was so sure it was dogs because so many were killed at once and the bodies just left. I thought a fox would kill one or two and take the bodies back to the den or eat them in the woods. I'm guessing she killed all of them and then put them near the spot where she comes and goes through or over the fence so she could more easily retreive them later, I just got home before she could. The one thing I couldn't figure out if it was dogs was how they got over the fence without bending it down when they went over. It's just wire farm fence that has gotten looser with age and the ground is completely saturated and mostly under water back in the woods. A large dog like a GSD wouldn't have good enough footing in that mud and water to go over without getting a foot hold somewhere on the fence which would bend the wire down. Also too big of a coincidence to see a fox for the first time in my back yard the day after I lost seven chickens. So, I almost feel better knowing it was a wild animal trying to survive than my neighbors dogs. Either way, no more free ranging for my flock.

    Someone asked about my dogs. No they are locked in the house when I'm gone and they are smaller than the fox, so wouldn't be much help. When I moved here and had the place fenced in I had five Doberman Pinschers but they have all died of old age since then. Now I have little froo froo dogs (Chinese Cresteds). My last big dog who died last year was a Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff) and he kept the fox and coyotes away for sure. I would love to put hot wire around the property, but it's five acres and I don't think I could afford it.

    Thanks for all the advice and condolences from everyone.


    Well, it happened. What I always prayed would never happen to me and my birds. It's my fault for being so complacent and so sure they were safe. I have lost 6 and maybe 7 to a predator. I left them out free ranging while I went to run some errands. I left around 1:00 and my neighbor came over around 3:30 to bring them some veggie treats. They were fine when she was here. I got home at around 5:30 and found a massacre. When I drove in the driveway I saw chickens on my front porch and in the flower beds and knew something was wrong. They are not allowed in the front yard and the gate was still closed, so I knew they must have either flown over the fence or in a blind panic went through the wire. I found a dead barred rock hen beside the pond in the back yard whose body was still warm and piles of feathers all over the place. In the woods cowering up against the fence I found a terrified ISA Brown who was not bloody but seems to be slightly injured or sore. Working my way around the fence line in the woods I found another three hens, Vinny one of my barred rock roosters and a BCM rooster all clustered together dead. As it got later toward dusk I found a live EE roo outside the fence on the south side of the pond and a barred rock hen and two EE hens came out from under the deck. All 32 are accounted for now, dead or alive, but one EE hen. I'm sick that I let this happen and I'm almost positive it was dogs. I just can't find where they came in. No way to get under the fence because it's almost all under water, so they must have jumped it. The only dogs I see running in the woods are two German shepards who live several houses down back in the woods. The chickens were all whole, not torn up at all but a couple had broken and slightly chewed necks. Joe, my other barred rock rooster has two puncture wounds on his back, but is up on the roost and seems to be OK. I'll have to treat those wounds in the morning, too tired and late tonight. I hope my little EE hen is OK and will come back tomorrow when it gets light. I can't stand the thought of her scared and out in the dark woods by herself, especially hurt. I think Vinny must have put up a fight because I found his tail feathers on one side of my property and he and the girls all the way on the other side in the back. I'm sick. I guess free ranging days are over, and they loved it so much. I took pictures of the bodies and will be watching to see if the perpetrators come back again. If it is the shepards I'm marching straight over to their house with my pictures. My neighbor said she didn't think the GS would kill chickens because the people who own them have chickens, ducks, geese, lamas, etc. and the dogs never bother them. I've known dogs who lived peacefully with cats to kill cats they didn't know. I'm sure it would be the same with chickens. What really steams me is that I paid a lot of money fencing my property to keep my dogs in and other people's dogs out!! Now I can't even let my chickens free range on my own fenced property! [​IMG] [​IMG] So, I've lost two ISA Brown hens, a barred rock hen and rooster, a BCM rooster and an EE hen, plus the EE hen that is still missing and have an injured ISA Brown and barred rock hen. This was not a good day. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011

  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:So your dogs were not out during this time? Mine aren't LGD's but they wouldn't let any other dogs inside their yard either. Having a dog like that is an asset on a farm, IMO.
    Yes, you can free range on your own fenced property! You do whatever you want on your property! However, I would limit them to SUPERVISED free range time until you catch the perpetrator(s). You need to know "who done it" and you need evidence. I would invest in a game camera to let you know if the dogs are checking your birds out in their coop when you don't see them, and it might get a picture you need if you see the dogs in your yard but don't get a pic in time. If you find the offending dog I'd SSS. You won't ever be able to free range if your fence isn't keeping them out and obviously the owners are letting them run frequently enough for you to see them around. If you figure out HOW they are getting in (over the fence I suppose) you might be able to fix it by running a strand of hot wire along the top if they're climbing, but I doubt it would solve the jumping.
  3. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    So sorry for your loss. I now let my 7 hens and 1 roo roam our 6 foot fenced yard. I know dogs or hawks could get in while I am gone or in the house. I know it,but I also know I will feel so sad when it does happen.Aside from locking them up when you leave I don't see what else you could have done. I caught a dog once in my yard.Thought by closing the gate I *HAD* him,but I guess he climbed the 6 foot fence!

    I agree that supervised free time is your best bet for now,because the animal that did this will be back for more. Do you have a game cam? I would get one. Hope you fine who did this.
  4. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    yes, GSDs will kill OTHER peoples animals. Their owners chickens are part of their pack, so they will ignore them. Like my boy is fine with our pet bunnies (even lets them crawl on him) but wild bunnies are snack food.
    I would call AC and tell them that the dogs have been wandering the area frequently and now you have dead birds. Have them talk to the owners. If it is legal in your area, they will tell the owners that the dogs can/will be shot on sight. If they care about the dogs, they will keep them home. If not, then you have your answer and SSS is your best option.
    It is possible that, since they are fine with the livestock at home, the owners assume they won't harm anyone elses animals.

    Personally, I would rather shoot the owners of roving dogs. It would be faster and actually end the problem. In my experience, when one of my neighbor's lose a roaming dog, they just go get another one. The scattered bodies, none eaten, screams "dog playing in the birds" esp if there are 2 of them.
  5. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:Hot wire fence cost the same to fence 1/4 acre as it does to fence 5 acres [​IMG] the charger/electifyer box is the only expensive part and you just get one that is "up to x miles" usually the bigger the better. You get like a mile of wire for $20 or less, wire is cheap. The insulator stand offs to put it on your existing fence will add up a little bit, but it's still relatively cheap as far as fencing goes

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by