Protection from Dogs for Free Ranging

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Mrs Ugh, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Mrs Ugh

    Mrs Ugh Chirping

    Sep 16, 2017
    Central Virginia
    We recently had our first loss to a predator. Unfortunately the predator is also ours. :th I started free ranging my chickens in the afternoons and everything was going well. My dogs are in a fenced yard, so I thought things would work. Unfortunately, I am as stupid as my chickens. I never thought chickens would be stupid enough to fly over the fence into the dog yard when they have so much other yard space available without dogs. Two leghorns decided the grass was greener, at the same time my daughter let the dogs out for a break. Only one hen survived. I still want to free range some, so I am looking for suggestions. The dog yard is too large for me to reinforce it so the chickens can't get in. If course, I plan to keep the dogs inside while the chickens are out, but I know accidents will happen. Would it be helpful if I built an emergency shelter for the chickens in the dog yard? Something they might have a chance of getting in before the dogs catch them? My other ideas for protecting them? And no, the dogs must stay!
    KLIL and Chickencountryuk like this.
  2. CCUK

    CCUK Free Flying

    Jan 21, 2018
    North Notts, UK
    My Coop
    So sorry to hear this. I'm not to sure what the best solution would be. Obviously keeping them separate is a priority but not always that easy. Could you put a higher fence up around the dogs? My chickens don't have a high fence but I put a single piece of wire a couple of inches higher and they don't seem to want to try and jump it. Maybe because it makes it to difficult to land on. Idk? Maybe a dog proof escape shelter would work but they would have to know where it is and be very quick.
    Mrs Ugh likes this.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    My dogs like chicken too, and I've been too lazy, basically, to retrain them as adults. So, I have very good fencing! I have Invisible Fence collars on the dogs, set to hit them about three feet inside their five foot tall real fence, which is either 2"x4" woven wire, chain link, or 4"x4" woven wire, with electric on the top.
    Can you tell that we have livestock too?
    The dogs stay away from their fence, and chickens who occasionally walk under it have space to scream and escape. Usually. I have had dead chickens very occasionally, and the survivors are more careful. It's not perfect, but works pretty well.
    Electric fencing, or electric poultry netting, will protect your chickens too. Depending on your layout, some combination may fix the problem, and then make sure there's no contact.
    Mrs Ugh likes this.
  4. Hopperkiller

    Hopperkiller Songster

    Dec 8, 2013
    slidell, tx
    An emergency shelter only works if the chickens know what it is and are slower than the dogs. Dont think they would live long enough to learn. Contact a dog obedience trainer with a shock collar. The dogs can be trained to leave them alone. Dogs chase thats what they do but it can be controlled with proper training. Then you wont have to put them in jail when chickens free range. You will then have some new dog control skills for future use.
  5. Polish Hen House

    Polish Hen House Songster

    Jun 29, 2018
    East Tennessee
    My Coop
    Hey, I am sorry to hear that you lost a chicken. My dog also got one of my chickens. I found that putting my dog on a run worked the best. I didn't want her to be stuck in the house all day while the chickens were out, so I put a run up for her. This way she has her half of the yard and the chickens have their half. My chickens are pretty good when it comes to staying away from my dog. I let her off the run when the chickens are up for the night so she can do as she pleases.
    Mrs Ugh likes this.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Hopper is right about the 'emergency shelter'. It's doomed to fail almost every time! As others have said, training and/ or fencing are your best options.
    And I'm sorry for your loss.
    Mrs Ugh likes this.
  7. lomine

    lomine Crowing

    Aug 7, 2015
    Peyton, CO
    Maybe you could teach the chickens not to go in the dog area. From your description it sounded like the dogs weren't in the yard when the chickens hopped the fence. I'm wondering if they would learn not to go in that area if they could actually see the dogs. Maybe you could have your dogs on leash and test it out. Maybe even let them go along the fence line and bark at the chickens.

    This is all just a thought. My dogs are small, old, and have zero prey drive so I've never had to worry about separating everyone. I don't know if chickens would learn not to put themselves in danger. They seem to have a knack for getting into trouble.
    Mrs Ugh likes this.
  8. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    Ditto training for the dogs, and the chickens! I would lightly clip one wing (just the tips of the flight feathers on one wing only about 1/2" to 3/4') on any bird that goes over the fence. This has stopped all from going over my 4 foot fences.
    Also do they have plenty of room in their run? And other things they want need? IF there is something they want or need that is not in their run, well it is going to be harder to control them, good luck!
    My dogs are hunting dogs, and I take them out every day to hunt in the pastures. They protect my birds because they are mine.
    lomine and Mrs Ugh like this.
  9. Dr.GarryTTucker

    Dr.GarryTTucker Songster

    May 1, 2018
    Southeast Texas
    deer fencing is pretty cheap and will keep chickens from flying over. You could also try clipping their wings to keep them from flying over fence. My father’s are too fat with their wings clipped to jump over cyclone fencing.

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