Other people's dogs and my chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LadyMaryChicken, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. LadyMaryChicken

    LadyMaryChicken In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2013
    (A bit of a rant, and a bit of a question)

    I'm sick of other people's dogs traumatizing my chickens!! For the second time, we've had a visitor bring dogs and they have chased our chickens. Today, our poor australorp pullet got pinned by a dog, but thankfully we were able to pull the dog off before she got physically injured. But she's terribly traumatized (seems very weak, breathing with an open mouth, won't move about much) and I'm afraid we are going to lose her. I really hope she recovers.

    What makes me mad is that people in our town love to drop by unannounced. We say, 'oh our chickens are free ranging and loose. Please put your dog on a leash.' and they say "My dogs are well behaved. Don't worry." They have even gotten offended by me asking them to leave their dogs at home. And yet -- these dogs always end up getting totally out of control and nearly killing my chickens.

    I got upset today, but the visitor just said, "Well, it's just a chicken. I'll buy you a new one if it dies."

    People don't understand that they are our pets and we've raised them since they were a day old!


    Yes, it's my fault for not being assertive enough, but it's strange that people say their dogs are well behaved when they really aren't. It's a small town, and I'm a new resident here and hate to be a jerk. But I guess I'm going to have to start.

    Anyone else have an experience like this?
  2. Motts

    Motts In the Brooder

    May 15, 2013
    Sorry, I haven't had an experience like this. I think that you need to be more assertive. Explain past history. If it is a cool day then Fido can stay in the car (or the house if you don't mind that), but if outside they must be on leash. Maybe make up a little sign to put at the front of the driveway. I would buy a leash (or two) and have them availble to hand to the owner. I would explain that dogs are dogs....they see a flapping, small thing that skitters around and they have to go get it. Even well trained dogs are going to be seriously tested.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    [​IMG] I have the same problem, it's very hard for me to be assertive. I was brought up that you shouldn't hurt someone else's feelings. Of course my own feelings were always getting trampled. If I were you I would love to say " if your dog gets injured, it's just a dog. I'll find you another one." Of course I would never have the nerve to say it. If you had a large livestock guardian dog - he would take care of the loose dog problem.
  4. LadyMaryChicken

    LadyMaryChicken In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2013
    Thanks much for the suggestions -- I really like that idea of having some leashes handy, maybe the looped kind they have at the vet. Some of these dogs just ride in the back of pickups with no collars, jump out and start roving around the property once the owners get out.

    We have an english shepherd, but she just loves dogs and wants to play. She's well behaved and knows that the chickens are off limits since she was raised with them as a puppy. But for some reason, she doesn't seem to get what's happening when the visiting dogs go ape over the chickens. I wonder if I could train her somehow to herd other dogs away....or at least distract in case of an emergency.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  5. Naunnie

    Naunnie Chirping

    Jun 6, 2013
    Buchanan, Georgia
    I sure hope your girl recovers. I agree with Motts. There is nothing wrong with being assertive when it pertains to your home. A sign is a good idea..... NO DOGS ALLOWED. No explanation needed. I have two signs on my gates. One says "No trespassing You will be shot". The other says "Do not Open the Gates. Call and Wait for Admittance". I have these signs up to protect my dogs. It's amazing how many people will come through a closed gate....and leave it open!

    I understand you do not want to be rude...but someone bringing a dog, onto your property, without okaying it with you first....is really rude and thoughtless.
  6. cgmccary

    cgmccary Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    I suggest you buy a leash and different size collars (or a choke collar that will fit any size dog) & collar and leash their dogs as soon as they arrive on the premises. If you do not protect your birds, who will? Keep this in mind.

    I do not know your set-up, but a well trained Livestock Guardian Dog will jump on a dog that chases a chicken. My adopted stray dogs will even run off strange dogs. I have had people bring their dogs over and my dogs attack it (so they don't do that anymore as I have 4 bigger dogs & they sometimes pile up on a strange dog). Dogs or people do not readily exit their vehicles at my house & small farm. My most aggressive dog is kept on my property by an invisible fence so she is not a threat to cyclist or neighbors.

    A true LGD (one of the breeds that do it naturally) will not permit another dog to chase or hurt the chickens. It will kill the intruding dog.

    I also have a Jenny (female donkey) in my pasture that is canine aggressive. I tell a visitor who brings their dog that if it runs in the pasture, the donkey can easily kill their dog & I won't be responsible.
  7. quigley257

    quigley257 In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2013
    I'm a bit more blunt with my guests and visitors. I make it perfectly clear that if they bring their dog over and it goes after my birds, it won't end well. I get tired of people who say "It's just a dog doing what its instincts tell it to do". B.S. When a dogs instincts tell it to "mark its territory" do you allow it to do that in the house? No, you train it to do its business outside. The way a dog acts is a direct reflection on its owner. Any dog with even basic obedience training should be trusted to leave something alone once it has been told to leave it.
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Promptly tell guest to restrain dog. If not realized tell guest to leave indicating why. Be prepared to swat dog even with owner present. Make certain dog owner and others are clear about your interest in protecting your birds. I have had to do same. It was a political game for while as guest tried to label me as mean to dogs but protection of livestock logic prevailed. You need to develop a reputation consistent with having birds of value and being able to defend them. Eventually others in community will provide social pressure on your behalf assuming your birds are not considered a nuisance. A sign might also help.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  9. Esmerelda

    Esmerelda In the Brooder

    May 10, 2009
    I think a visible sign at the entrance to your property is a great idea - "ALL DOGS MUST BE LEASHED - NO EXCEPTIONS!" Then when someone lets their dog loose you can say, 'Because of problems in the past, we need all visiting dogs to be leashed. If you don't have a leash with you, I'll be glad to lend you one!'
  10. auburn

    auburn In the Brooder

    Jun 19, 2012
    West Michigan
    I completely agree with the suggestions given. How rude! Are there not many chicken owners in this town? These visitors don't seem very familiar with chicken raising. Whether or not the chickens are pets with any emotional attachment doesn't change the fact that having a chicken killed is extremely inconvenient. It's not as simple as just replacing one. Not even taking into account the stress it'll cause your flock. Losing and gaining new members sure riles up the pecking order!

    We lost a chicken to a neighborhood dog, and since then have been highly alert when it comes to canine visitors. One of the families on our street own a pitbull, and are definitely the kind of people who shouldn't have one! They leave it on a leash all day with no training, and it often gets loose. It has chased our goats and chickens and even growled at our dogs and us while we're in our own yard. My parents are dog lovers but our chickens are not a free meal for every animal running around. A BB gun pellet to the behind seems to have helped.

    Of course, you can't necessarily do that to a dog with their owner present, but I wouldn't hesitate to smack a chicken chasing dog or hit it with a rake. The chickens are your property, on your property, and you have the right to protect them. It might seem mean to a dog that doesn't know any better but if you let them have free reign, they'll remember, and likely won't hesitate to do it again.

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