1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

My neighbor's dog killed one of my chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by diamond-egg, Jul 3, 2016.

  1. diamond-egg

    diamond-egg Hatching

    Apr 22, 2016
    I think this is only my second post on here... sadly. I'm probably more upset than I should be right now but... I only had 6 chickens. This was our first time raising them. 2 Rhodies 2 Buffs 2 Rocks. They're still only ten weeks old, but growing fast. We got them outside in a movable coop and we just recently let them start free ranging. They were doing great. They seemed much happier and don't wander off at all, they like to stay around the coop (We live in the countryside, by the way. There's a fair amount of cows and corn fields surrounding us). I raised them from little chicks, just a few days old. I spent a lot of time watching over them.
    Anyways, I wasn't at home when it happened, my dad told me about it. My neighbor was walking her black lab down the road like she usually does, without a leash. I always thought he was a pretty well trained and kind pup. Well they walked past our yard and the dog suddenly took off and grabbed one of my rocks, then ran back down the road, away from the owner. By the time she got to him, yelling, it was too late. Apparently the poor chick was squawking like never before and MY dog, whom was inside, was making noise about it too. The owner felt really bad about it and offered to pay us but my dad said no. She says she's going to keep him on a leash from now on.
    I'm afraid to let my chickens go free range now because of this. If the dog was on a leash or my chicks were in their coop, it would still be alive.
    I don't know. I think I wouldn't be *as* upset if the chicken died from natural causes. It would have just been an accident that was no ones fault. But I'm angry because it was someone else's pet that did it. And here I am worried about coyotes and mink...
    It's just upsetting because I've spent SO much time with them and I have a bond created with them. They're basically my babies. And all of that time is just ripped away in a second by someone's non-leashed dog. Plus I love animals and it always makes me sad when an innocent creature is killed. Especially a helpless one like a little old chicken that does nothing wrong.

  2. Whittni

    Whittni Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Southern Utah
    I'm so sorry for your loss! I'm sure you'll meet her again some day. The safest chickens don't free range because there's always going to be another dog or coyote or hawk. Even the most superbly trained dogs can succumb to instinct. I would double check your coop and run for predator protection and if you feel they need more space, maybe you can build a small chicken yard as an extension to the run.
    1 person likes this.
  3. diamond-egg

    diamond-egg Hatching

    Apr 22, 2016
    Thank you.
    Yeah we are using this coop as a temporary home for them while we're building them a very large fenced area that connects to our barn. So they'll be able to go in and out of the barn at will, while still being protected. At first I was going to let them free range in that area but now I'm no so sure. They'll have a lot of room plus there are coyotes and bald eagles around. It just sucks that the chick died so early on, she wasn't even fully grown yet :(
  4. Kyanite

    Kyanite Loving Life!

    May 27, 2016
    SE Idaho
    [​IMG] Very sorry for the loss of your chicken. At least it sounds like you have a good neighbor who realized her error, and is fixing it. Offering to pay for the chicken is the right thing, and a nice thing. Many won't care, or will even deny that their dog did anything wrong. I dealt with this a bit when I was a kid and we had chickens, and now in my own rural area I have two sets of neighbors (a mile apart or so) who see absolutely nothing with letting their dogs run everywhere while they are away. One had the audacity to lecture ME on my "responsibility" to keep his dog out of my chickens so his dog wouldn't develop a habit of chicken hunting. I wish I had neighbors like yours.

    Dogs are a terrible predator because they are not afraid of people. Most other predators won't come in while you are near your chickens unless they are very desperate. So yes, chickens always secured in a coop are safest, but they lose the joy of running free and the ability to forage. If that is important to you, I'd suggest only letting them out when you can supervise, and have something you can use against wandering dogs. It sounds like your plan to build a big run for them might be kind of the best of both worlds. Keep in mind, any determined predator (and definitely dogs) can go right though chicken wire. A friend moved into a new house with a big coop and nice run all made of chicken wire and she put her chickens right in thinking they were safe. Within days the neighbor dog visited and completely bloodied himself breaking through the chicken wire to get into the run where he killed all the chickens and even took some home with him. She witnessed the whole thing and could not get the dog to stop. It became aggressive with her when she tried to run it off. There are a lot of good ideas for completely predator proof runs on this forum. I personally have welded wire with hardware cloth.
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    Experiencing a loss like that is a heartbreaking event. Because of the care they require when young, we do tend to spend a lot of time with them, we begin to see their personalities develop and we do form a bond with them. It seems the fewer we have, the tighter the bond as we can easily identify and recognize them as individuals. And yes, we only wish the rest of the world would simply leave them alone and let them be.

    Unfortunately, that is not the case. What is the case is it seems that just about every other living animal on the planet is out to get them......either to eat them or simply kill them for sport. So for that not to happen, we have to intervene. That means protection of some kind. Lots and lots of ways people use.......everything from fences to guard animals and even those can miss fire and go wrong. We simply do the best we can for them.

    What most who have fought the fight for a long enough period of time eventually gravitate to is an electric fence of some type. Done right, that establishes a boundary which keeps most other animals at arm's length....the birds are kept in and the land based animals what would kill them are kept out.

    In the scenario you describe, your neighbors dog would have come on, hit the fence, the fence bit the dog hard, and it would have returned to its owner. Instant justice.......your birds left alive, their dog paid the price for it's behavior. You have no complaint and the neighbor cannot complain if their dog was on your property being bad. That seems to be about the best outcome one can imagine.
  6. Mich2424

    Mich2424 Hatching

    Jul 4, 2016
    I feel you and it's the worse feeling ever !! My hen was old and blind and my big lab got lose and got to her while we where not home! We found her in a corner nearly alive! this happen yesterday ! And what sucks is that it was our dog and I'm super angry at her! But she is a dog at the end of the day !
  7. carlf

    carlf Chirping

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Sorry to hear that. Like others noted, at least the dog owner took responsibility.

    Define "free range"? As in, is your yard completely unfenced? If so, and you have neighbors, this is a recipe for more deaths.
    You need to confine them to a "yard" during the day.. Even a 36" picket fence works well since they don't like to land on spiky pickets.
    But you need something that will keep dogs out.
    Make sure to lock them up in the coop every night.
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by