my dog did it and this time it was brutal!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sunket77, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. sunket77

    sunket77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2009
    Texas Hill Country!
    I spent months training her and working with her and the chickens. At first all she ever seemed to want to do is herd them whether they where in their runs or out free ranging. I have always watched her very close and usually she was either trying to keep them all in the same place or just watching them. She never even attempted to make a move in front of me but I would still never leave her alone with them. The reason I got her in the first place (btw she is a GSD/collie mix) was to protect the perimeter of the yard and keep predators out. She turned out to make a wonderful obedient pet. Well a few months back our silkie run had a hole in it, of course that would happen on a night we forgot to close the coops. So I woke up to silkies running around everywhere and my dog trying to herd them, I look and find a dead bird (a young cochin) next to the whole where something had pulled the wire back. The head was missing, my dog did not act guilty when I called her over. I assumed she had not done it and since the head was missing it was probably a raccoon that got caught in the act. We found all the other birds and fixed the run.
    Then fast forward, we had my young nieces over, they went out with my daughter to collect eggs and they did not close the door to the silkie run (again with the silkies where I also keep cochins) I go out to find my dog standing over a cochin she had plucked all the feather off her back! The poor thing was in shock. I took it in treated her wounds the best I knew how and she didn't seem to have any really bad injuries only a couple of puncture wounds, I had seen chickens with worse heal and be fine. But the poor thing didn't make it though the night, I think the stress is mostly what killed her. Before I brought her in I disciplined my dog with a technique someone who has raised dogs with chickens for many years said to do. I held her down on the ground and held the chicken over her while telling her NO.
    Later again, this time a chicken got out through a nesting box that had not been closed properly in the layer run. A production red which was new to the flock had gotten out. AGAIN I found my dog with the chicken and she had plucked all her feathers out AGAIN. This time I caught it in enough time and the chicken was saved and lived to see another day. After wound cleaning (her wounds where worse than the first) and a round of antibiotics she was fine and has grown most of her feathers back. Again I disciplined her the same way.

    today was very hot (temps in 100s) so I let my dog inside in the afternoon. I usually let the chickens free range after about 4 until dusk. Usually, when the weather is not so hot I just tie up my dog on a long lead during that time. She can still be around the chickens and they around her but she can't catch them and it's worked out pretty well. Today, I had her in and was very distracted, my DH came home and let her out, even asked if there was a reason she was inside but I didn't hear him. He didn't know the chickens where out. It took me about 30 min. (maybe less) to realize she had been let outside. I ran out and there on the ground was my sons ONLY BLUE COPPER MARANS PULLET dead. Her neck was mangled it was a definite kill, not just plucking feathers, the only part of her that was touched was her neck and the skin was gone.

    [​IMG] I am sad b/c my son loves marans and to date we still only have one hen, we bought a trio of blues and ended up with two roos, tried hatching two batches and only got two which turned out to be roos!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] I am sad and mad because my dog is now a killer and any training has failed all that work for nothing, and now what?? Added constant stress of having a predator IN the yard all the time. So far she hasn't tried to get IN any of the runs, only when they are out. [​IMG] this time I spanked her, I held her down and spanked her. I feel like it doesn't matter how I discipline her, if I am not there, it won't matter. I have read and heard by many people to tie the chicken around the dogs neck until it rots. I don't think I could do that with one of my sons favorite chickens, much less stomach rotting chicken.

    re-homing her is not an option, this is her home, I am just so mad at her right now! [​IMG]

    thanks to that that have taken the time to read my rant [​IMG]
  2. Hot2Pot

    Hot2Pot Fox Hollow Rabbitry

    Feb 1, 2010
    West TN
    Sorry about your chickens. I do not think you can train chicken killing out of a dog . Better keep either the chickens or the dog penned up. Good luck.
  3. sunket77

    sunket77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2009
    Texas Hill Country!
    thanks, yeah, thats why I am so upset [​IMG] b/c I know once they have killed I have read/ heard you can't stop them. I think continuing to tie her up is the best option, I hate keeping the hen penned up 24/7 we just have to be extra cautious now and educate the kids more.
  4. ellieroo

    ellieroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2008
    Am so sorry that happened.Some dogs just can't ignore what their genes are screaming in their heads. try to remember that she wasn't being bad she was doing what nature told her to do. i had a st schnauzer that no matter what I tried /did changed what would happen if he got with in range of a chicken.I have a dobe that I totally trust she has raised several batches of chicks and never look sideways at a chicken.I don't blame you for being mad I could have killed Finn on more than one occasion but I didn't.I've trained/ worked with lots of different dogs thru the years and some just can't ignore what their genetics are telling them .Now you know, it will always be this way with this dog.But you can love her and the chickens just not together! [​IMG]
  5. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    should've grab the dead chook and smack the dog over the face with it...
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I've had two dogs who became quite safe around chickens who both grabbed one while I was training them. One just picked the hen up, then obeyed when I ordered him to drop her, and she was unharmed. The other picked her up and shook her, killing her. They both spent a couple of years ignoring the chickens after I felt they were trained, and the one who is still alive still does. The one who died was a very old dog, and learned to leave the chickens alone as an old lady, maybe 12 or 13. I worked with them for a few months before I would turn my back on them.

    That said, even a well trained dog will occasionally suddenly decide to "play with" a chicken, which generally kills it, of course. Meanwhile, a lot of chickens are much safer from the predators that the dogs run off.
  7. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:That's not true.. I have several who killed chickens in the past and now I trust them 110% with the birds .. one being my LGD who is now their protector at night... the dogs just have to learn that going after the birds is completely unacceptable .. sure there will be the occasional dog who has an extremely high prey drive and who just won't learn.. but in my experience the vast majority CAN be trained that the birds are "family" and not playthings.. so "once a killer always a killer" idea is not true with each and every dog
  8. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    I am so sorry to hear about your dog and chickens. Is your dog young enough to keep the training up? If not I would just do like you said and be extra cautious.
  9. dainerra

    dainerra Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 4, 2011
    the dog didn't let you down, you guys let the dog down. Sorry, but true. Dogs are animals; they act like animals.
    Accidents happen, esp when dogs/children/birds are unsupervised. It's like leaving a little boy alone with a box of matches and expecting him to not play with them. Even though he knows that it's wrong, sometimes he just won't be able to exist.

    You know that she doesn't bother the birds when you are there. SO... don't let her in the yard alone when the birds are out. It isn't true that "once a killer, always a killer" Most dogs kill chickens because it's FUN not because they're hungry. That's why they end up slaughtering the whole flock. It's natural behavior left over from their hunting days, but 99% of domesticated dogs don't know that chicken = food.

    I don't trust even my most dependable dog alone with the birds.

    In your case, I would stop letting her "help" herd the birds. Instead, teach her to ignore them completely. put her on leash and take her to just where she takes interest in what the birds are doing. say her name and "leave it" and reward her for paying attention to you and not the birds. over time, get closer and closer - always rewarding for ignoring the birds. You might eventually be able to let her off leash with supervision, again starting at a distance and working closer. The biggest thing, though, is to not give her the opportunity to fail. Chickens are out, then the dog is inside or on leash.

    Just putting her on a tie-out isn't going to fix anything. Chickens are stupid. I've seen more than one die because it wandered too close to a tied up dog or even flew into a dog kennel.

    ALSO: don't smack your dog with a dead bird. All that will do is cause your dog to think that you are insane. Tieing a dead chicken to her isn't going to teach her anything nor will spanking her after the fact. Dogs live in the moment. So by the time you found the dead bird, she had done moved on. So dragging her over to the dead bird and spanking her? She had no idea what you were upset about.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  10. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 28, 2011
    I'm so very sorry this happened.[​IMG] please don't take it out on the dog. It will be too late for the dog to comprehend why she is being scolded. It's not the dogs fault. The dog is only doing what is instinctively right to her.

    I have two dogs. Althogh, they show no interest in the chickens, I still do not trust them. We keep our chickens in a fully secure run and 100% predator proof coop when the doors are fully shut.

    It's merely impossible to train a dog with a prey drive not to kill chickens. Even with thousands of dollars training, you always take that risk. My husbands cousin sent off and spent $5,000 to train his lab. The training was useless and she had gotten in the coop and killed the chickens. His dog also would kill all the ducks on his property as well.

    I feel bad for your son. My girls each have their own special chick as well. It would be heartbreaking to lose them. Again, I'm so sorry for your loss.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011

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