Neighbor's Dogs Killed Entire Flock & Donkey

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by IddyBiddysEggs, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. IddyBiddysEggs

    IddyBiddysEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 23, 2013
    Lula, Georgia
    I need your opinions and some direction ... please try and keep expression of anger to a minimum in this post. I am already angry enough for everyone ...

    I started with 75 beautiful hens... mostly production reds, some Ameraucanas and 2 dozen Partridge rocks. I am a hobby farmer with a dream of providing organic eggs to the community. My flock was on average 36 weeks old, and I was selling eggs to regular customers at my work.

    Over the past months my chickens were vanishing. I allowed them to free range as they pleased and over a short period my flock dwindled from 75+ down to about 40. Nothing was working ...I assumed a serious predator moved in despite multiple predator traps, larger livestock (cows & horses), and a resident guardian donkey, the hens kept disappearing. I secured all my birds in their "condo" and put up chain link panels, surrounded by corral panels... it looked like a military blockade when I was finished.

    I received a call on Wednesday from the neighbor... dogs in the corral area, but they could not get to the birds. I arrived with rifle in hand but they were gone ... my neighbor said "I didn't shoot them because they are someone's pet" ... The scene looked like a mess... but my barriers worked. I viewed video and pictures my neighbor had taken ... the neighbor's dogs.

    I went to feed, water and collect eggs yesterday ... as I walked toward the coop I noticed it was very quiet. It had rained ... I noticed clumps of overturned pasture everywhere as if the animals were running ....and then I saw bodies everywhere. The dogs must have run circles around the coop like indians circling the cowboys. There was a muddy path where they had run the grass into the ground. Muddy paw prints allowver the building, twisted fencing, holes dug under the fences, and under the foundation ... They clawed their way under the building and dug out the foundation from under the building. The girls had nowhere to hide. Some escaped into the fields as I found bodies as far as 100 yards away. Not one was damaged except for feathers on their backs ... many are still missing. The donkey sustained a skull fracture ... we think he was running from the dogs and ran into a tree. He died struggling to get up.

    The dog owner arrived as I was picking up bodies ... She said, "I need to talk to you, I owe you money" .... Money? Money?

    I spent 6 months of my life raising chicks from an egg ... I fed them organic feed and watched them grow. I was out in the rain and the mud making sure they were safe and dry ... they talked to me when I came to feed them and would come running from anywhere in the field to follow me around. I told the neighbor these were special chickens, but she did not understand. In Georgia, a chicken is a chicken. Sentiment and emotion aside, the dollar value to raise an organic hen is about $21 ... at least thats what my system costs. The loss of the birds, time, labor, and lost egg revenue adds up to thousands of dollars. The police documented the event, told me this is a "Civil matter" and to take them to court ... and they told me if I had to shoot the dogs to protect my livestock to call the police afterwards. End of story ... my chickens are gone, my donkey is buried on the hill, my little business destroyed and I am hurting.

    What would you recommend?
     
  2. kmlnll

    kmlnll Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 19, 2013
    I would list out how much money you spent and are loosing because of the incident. You may want to include cost to start up again. Include the cost of the donkey. Present this to the neighbor and ask for that amount. If they don't pay it, I would take them to court.

    Also, I would tell them if their dogs even put a paw in your yard again, you will shoot. They are killers, they shouldn't be roaming around. And you have every right to protect what's yours.

    I'm sorry about your flock. Really. My dogs attacked and severely injured my fav hen about a month ago. I didn't realize it was them till they killed another. I understand how crazy angry this can make some one. Unfortunately all you can do is pick up the pieces and keep moving forward.
     
    2 people like this.
  3. RedIII

    RedIII Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tooele, Utah
    First, I am so sorry you have had this kind of loss [​IMG] I have had a number of my birds killed by marauding dogs in the past two years, both turkeys and chickens, though the number is nowhere near what you have lost. It still hurts, though, and I'd encourage you to take some time and do something to help you recover and get your mind off of the matter for a bit.

    I think it was good of the neighbor to come forward and tell you that she owes you money. It's only fair, after her dogs destroyed your livestock. I would try to work up a fair sum of the value for the animals you lost, and then approach your neighbor and try to work something out. It sounds like she's at least willing to work with you, which is good.

    I know this will sound callous, but if by chance you re-establish a flock and this kind of thing happens again, I would not hesitate to shoot the dogs. It's obvious that they have a taste now for chickens, and they know that they can find them in your yard. These dogs are not starving, they are killing for fun. I would make it clear to the owner that you are willing to do this, too. I live in Utah, and it's perfectly legal here to shoot someone's dog if it is harming or killing your livestock, which includes chickens. I don't like the prospect of having to do that, but if it comes to it, I will eliminate predators that way. I have some very valuable breeder stock that is difficult to replace.

    Good luck, my dear. Hang in there. It will get better over time, I promise.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    NEK, VT
    It is a civil matter and it's nice the neighbor was civil about it though a shame were so neglectful in keeping of their dogs. They seem like hunting dogs, guessing as to numbers and doggedness to kill.

    I've no idea as to how much compensation the judge will allow. Being organically raised the replacement price will be higher. As it is replacement cost not time of raising. Locally you'd have to find the costs of organic birds at point of lay to one year old and show that to your neighbor. 40 organic birds X $amount per bird. I imagine they didn't/couldn't concieve how much it really is- yeah, $1000 is a low number and that's if you can find birds for $25 and that doesn't count the donkey.

    It's best if you can come to an agreement with your neighbor with as much civility as you can muster. If you have to go the civil court route it cost you more money and drags out. Not to mention if they don't pay...it can turn into a very long process before they are jailed for contempt of court until payment made. It's not the route you want to take unless you can't work out a real # up front.

    Good Luck and my condolences.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. IddyBiddysEggs

    IddyBiddysEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 23, 2013
    Lula, Georgia
    I asked to dicuss this with her (neighbor) at another time to avoid the emotion ... my initial response was (in my mind) "forget the money, I want the dogs" ... Looks like my other neighbor has had her baby doll sheep attacked. Same scenario with broken necks and what appears to be bite marks.

    Attempting to be rationale as this is my neighbor - that has pulled me out of the mud in the past - Whats "fair"? I came up with about $2000 which is the actual raw cost of the birds ($875) - McMurray sells "started pullets" for $17.95 EACH (shipping is $70 !!) ... My number includes the cost of new chicks and feed. The remaining amount is lost revenue over 6 months ... My eggs bring $4 per dozen.

    I feel $2000 is fair... but my neighbor may not be my neighbor after asking for this amount
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. RedIII

    RedIII Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 30, 2011
    Tooele, Utah
    Work with her the best you can. I'm sure that if she could take back what has happened, she would. But the fact is that your animals were killed by hers. It's terrible, but it happens.

    If another neighbor has had problems with these dogs killing livestock, too, I kind of have to wonder if the dogs are normally penned. If they are and it's a good pen, and they're still getting out, I think the neighbor should seriously re-evaluate how safe they are to have.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. IddyBiddysEggs

    IddyBiddysEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 23, 2013
    Lula, Georgia
    “Production Reds” or “Red Star” … Hybrid cross – Rhode Island Red and New Hampshire Red
    40 chicks x $3.80 ea. (Hatched Mid Feb.) $152
    Organic starter feed ($10) x 6 wks $ 60
    Organic starter feed ($15) x 10 wks $150
    Layer Pellet $16/bag x 2 bags/wk x 16 wks $512
    (32 week old chickens) VALUE $874
    $21.85 value per chicken

    40 birds x 70% production = 28 eggs per day
    16 dozen per week x $4.00 = $64/wk $256/mo.

    Loss of income x 22 weeks/ 5.5 months $1408
    Actual cash value of chickens (Labor not calculated) $ 874
    Total Loss $2282
    2013 chicks

    February 2013

    2/15 hatch - 26 part rock
    3/15 release

    2/18 hatch - 30+1 prod red
    3/18 release

    2/22 hatch - 19 prod red
    3/22 release

    75 layers + 1 Rooster
     
  8. IddyBiddysEggs

    IddyBiddysEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 23, 2013
    Lula, Georgia
    I agree. I believe she is sorry ... but the dogs are not penned. At least they don't keep them in their pen. They have a 60 acre farm that backs up to mine ... the dogs don't differentiate between my land, theirs or the other neighbors. We're on a dirt road and there are literally packs of dogs that roam. I have refrained from shooting as they have collars... In the past we've blamed everything on coyote until now where we have video.
     
  9. BrendaJ

    BrendaJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oregon
    So devastating & heartbreaking. Many hugs sent your way. I really hope your neighbor realizes what has happened here. She is responsible for her dogs actions. I hope things can be settled out of court - I think that prolongs the pain on your end. The court system seems to drag. If your neighbor has a heart she will pay you the Money. I know the $$ isn't going to bring your animals back or in no way replace all the time you spent raising them but it is a start. Starting over isn't going to be easy but with time I hope the pain will heal.
    I have experienced loss in my flock but no where near what you just described. Kudos to you for being able to express what's happening without your anger leading the way.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. kmlnll

    kmlnll Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 19, 2013
    I think this neighbor has a big problem... Her dogs are free roaming killers... The main issue also needs to be addressed. These dogs can't roam like that since they aren't behaving. If you get more chickens and your neighbor gets a new lamb, it's just going to happen again!

    I agree about being level headed about the money and they should pay for the damages. But it also needs to be addressed the problem isn't resolved till these killers aren't free roaming.

    Sorry if I sound at all harsh. I just know these dogs aren't going to stop after this. They have a taste for it and know where to go now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013

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