Our dogs killed 4 of our chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by 4x4Runner, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. 4x4Runner

    4x4Runner Out Of The Brooder

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    So we have had our 2 dogs and our chickens for a year now. Together. All day and all night... They would go into the coop, sleep in the coop and basically we have had NO issues what so ever of the dogs hurting, messing with or playing with them. In fact we had our dogs chase off a hawk who tried to get one of our chickens threw the fence and our friends dog got into the yard and started chasing them and the dogs all got into a huge fight. They totally protected them.

    2 weeks ago, they killed my favorite chicken. I thought wow, that is weird, why would they do that? She had started attacking the other chickens pretty bad so I thought maybe she went after the dogs and ****** them off? I separated them just in case with a quick fence.

    Last week they broke threw the little fence we made and killed 2 more. Now I'm livid. Tied the 2 dead chickens around their neck and they slept outside and were NOT allowed in the house. We made a better fence.

    Today they got threw the "safetly" fence and killed one chicken. It looks like someone chewed the "safetly" fence (Lab) and squeezed thru. They couldn't get into the coop thru the bottom so somehow they or one got on top (which I believe is the lab because the pitbull has a bad rear end and doesn't move much anymore) and fell threw the top. It is chain link all around but I think the weight just gave in. I think it may have scared the chickens so they flew out. It is 5 feet tall and I have NEVER seen my dogs jump a fence but she must have because the door was latched. One is a 10 year old labrador (who by the way is a huge trash dog and has been bad since a puppy) and a 7 year old pitbull who has never hurt a fly, well actually now chickens BUT she used to sleep with them so I highly doubt she started it. She saved a chihuahua from a bobcat and 3 baby bunnies that the eyes weren't even open yet.

    The only new thing that has happened is a stray cat has been sleeping near the chickens and hanging out with them for about a week before this happened. It didn't seem to care about the chickens but I would always make it go away. The lab does NOT like cats. She grew up with a cat and respected her but when she passed away, she could care less. Now could the cat decided it wanted to go after a chicken which maybe started a frenzy and kicked something in their dumb dog brains to attack them? They actually didn't kill them, just played with them... We did the deed which was so hard because they were like pets to us.

    I don't understand. A lot of people actually don't understand considering they have always been around livestock and chickens. Any ideas? Has this happened to anyone before?

    We are building a fence that will be hot so if they or anyone touches it, its going to hurt.

    I have 1 chicken left but we have 8 babies that we were planning on introducing to the flock soon and I'm pretty upset. :(
     
  2. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they just found out playing tag is a lot of fun... you need to go back to basic and re-start their training.
     
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  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    In addition to above, could you describe the area in which the dogs could roam before this all started? You may be dealing with mentally cramped dogs needing an outlet. The ideal for me is for dogs to have lots of distractions such as the UPS man, neighbor kid going to school, occasional predator to chase, rabbits, voles, moles, etc. Dogs confined to a simple environment are inventing new stimuli.
     
  4. 4x4Runner

    4x4Runner Out Of The Brooder

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    Our yard is pretty large. We also have 1/2 acre we take them out to run around in and throw the ball. Last couple of weeks we have been going to the desert where they roam free. They stay on the property. We take the lab running on the quads for over 5 miles and still has energy but at home we play ball almost daily for about an hour. The pitbull can really run and when she does she can't get up so she puts around than lays around. They have all kinds of toys in the yard they play with. They also started digging because we have gophers. They basically have free run of the house and yard, we just leave the door open.

    I even tested them out with our friends chickens loose in their yard and they didn't even mind them. We however were present.

    We have 1 chicken left and I hid the chicken and took them back there to let them see their are no more left thinking maybe that will help. Cutting them off from the rest of the yard is fine. They still have a huge piece left.

    We have a friend who is a dog trainer and she said she wI'll come over and do training with a collar but I want it to stick. Not when we are gone they go buck wild again.
     
  5. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not being snarky I promise, I'm just genuinely puzzled on one point...why would you tie the birds they killed around the dogs necks? That kinda seems like something they'd find positive? At least our Lab would love it.

    Is there any way another predator could have gotten the chickens, and not the dogs? Or even that the stray cat was attacking the chickens, and the dogs were going after the cat?
     
  6. 4x4Runner

    4x4Runner Out Of The Brooder

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    Someone who has a chicken farm told us to do it and it works. It was weird. I googled it first and a lot of people so it and say it works so we tried it.

    We were not home so the stray cat could of very well attacked one and started it. I just blamed the dogs because they keep doing it.

    I feel like if they were true chicken killers they would of done it by now. Not a year later. Maybe I'm wrong?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Dogs likely overly confined based on details given.
     
  8. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've known of this type of thing to happen with dogs. There is a large alpaca ranch near here, and it's happened there about a dozen times so far over the years... one of the LGD dogs they have decides one night, after being fine with alpacas for a long time, that it would be fun to chase and worry one. People will say "they are just playing" and yes. Dog play behaviour is what helps them to kill animals. They are predators; when they grab a toy and shake it, they are preparing to worry a live animal. Doing that to a live animal causes tremendous damage and they often go into shock, then die. So anyway, for whatever reason, the dog chases the alpaca, grabs it, worries it which as I say causes tremendous damage, the alpaca goes into shock, and most of the time has to be put down. So far they have not been able to save one. Occasionally it has already died, and then finally the owners realize what's going on. In some of those attacks the dog bit the alpacas quite a lot too, but they don't have to actually bite open a huge wound to kill an animal.

    I think that some dogs are simply not suited to be guardians. They may make fantastic pets for humans, but just like we are all not brilliant at playing the guitar, not all dogs are good at guarding. I think it's a talent, like being able to paint. Pretty much anyone can paint at least a little, and this can sure be developed by lots of practice, but very few of us become a Gaugin or a Picasso.

    I also don't think the dogs are actually being "bad". Dogs are predators. Killing things is what they do. I don't think you need to punish them. Separating them from the chickens, which is what you are planning from what I understand here, is a very good first step. Working with the dog trainer is also an excellent plan. But, try not to be disappointed, if in the end it turns out that guarding chickens is not where your dog's strengths and talents lie. We can hope that it is, but they are still good and worthwhile dogs even if they can't guard chickens.
     
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  9. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have your dogs ever been used for hunting? Our Lab (same age as yours, and same energy level too!) retrieved birds for the first seven years of her life. Not a ton, but a few times a year. When we got chickens and ducks, I wasn't sure we would be able to train her to leave them alone. I don't trust her unsupervised with the birds, but she does know that they're off limits and she doesn't even acknowledge them when we are all outside together. But every now and again, that hunting instinct shows through. Last week a chicken fluttered around in some bushes and the Lab instinctively lunged towards it. She corrected herself almost immediately, but I'll never trust her completely, she's from hunting stock and that natural instinct may take over. Fortunately obedience wins out over instinct, but I can't depend on that.
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    It is understandable and forgive able if a dog responds to stimuli like the fluttering of a crippled or ruptured duck. After all, dogs are dogs and they can only be expected to act like a dog even though we humans may think that their pooch is a K9 Einstein.

    My late brother-in-law would run down his rabbet dogs and whip them if they failed to come to him. The poor dogs thought that they were not running from my brother-in-law as fast as he wanted them to. There was never a problem until he called them and then the dogs ran from him at top speed.

    NEVER assume that you and your dog are on the same wave length.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017

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