Should I feel guilty for having chickens when my neighbors dogs kills my chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by WhirlyBirds, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. WhirlyBirds

    WhirlyBirds Out Of The Brooder

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    Yesterday our neighbors dog killed on of our chickens. We have only lived here a year and all the neighbors are very friendly. We live on 5 1/2 wooded acres, the neighbors all have 1-3 acres each.

    A couple months ago, the neighbors dog got a hold of one of the chickens but didn't hurt it. That's when my neighbor said he was going to get the dog a shock collar because the dog (who is less than a year old) wasn't listening when he would take him outside. Yesterday, he didn't put the shock collar on him.

    I was free-ranging them and checking on them every couple of minutes or so. I was doing house work, so I was in and out of the house. I left them alone for about 5 minutes. I went outside to look for them and they were gone. I knew something was wrong. So as I was walking around the yard, calling them, the neighbor walked up to my house with the chicken and the dog on a leash. She was still alive but died later of shock. The other one showed up an hour later complete fine.

    The neighbor said he "lost track of him", then ran after him when he heard him barking back in the woods and found the dog standing over the chicken. I appreciate the neighbor bringing the chicken to me and he could have easily left the chicken for dead and never said anything.

    I know there are risks with free-ranging and I accept that, but is it still the neighbors fault? I have to say that we have dogs too and they wander into our neighbors yard once every couple of months, but they don't have chickens and we immediately get the dogs out of their yard. Does that matter?

    I'm not sure how to feel. These are our first chickens, we only had two because we were "figuring it out" before we got more. Now we just have the one, but we will get another to keep her company.

    We live in the suburbs, but on big wooded lots. Should I feel guilty for having chickens and enticing the neighborhood dogs? Am I putting unnecessary stress on my neighbors for having chickens? I don't want our neighbors to hate us but it's also my property and I want to have chickens!

    Also, the neighbor never said he would replace the chicken, nor did he ever say he was sorry but he was clearly upset about what we had perceived his dog had done. Should he offer to replace it? Or should I chalk it up to a learning experience?

    There's not really any "proof" that it was his dog. No one really caught the dog red handed. Maybe something else pulled the chicken into the woods and the dog scared it away? Or am I being too nice?
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    You are being too nice - I think that you can be relatively certain that the neighbor's dog is responsible for the death of your chicken. It's not the dog's fault - it's the neighbor's fault. You now know that your neighbor is going to be inconsistent with the control of his dog so you must protect your chickens. Provide them with a large pen protected by electric fencing and allow closely monitored free ranging. Something always wants to kill our birds - they taste good or as in this case 'they are fun to play with'.

    I am very sorry for the loss of your hen.
     
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    I wouldn't say there is any need to feel "guilty", but it may be time to reassess your flock-keeping practices to decide if the risk of further losses (there will be more) is something you are willing to accept for the benefit of being able to maintain your birds as free ranging birds. If you are okay with the risk/expense/upset of further losses, no need to change anything - but if you are not, you will want to consider at least some form of containment to create a barrier between birds and predators.
     
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hello there!

    My living situation is almost exactly like yours. We live out in the country. I have two neighbors, one on each side. The neighbors on the left have always had dogs, but they are careful to keep them in their own yard. I think they actually have three dogs right now.

    The neighbors on the right--they're a whole different story. They've had three three dogs since we've lived there (13 years now). If their dogs aren't barking all night long, they're loose and taking a dump on our yard. These neighbors are loud and annoying. Their latest dog actually did come into my back yard and grab a hen, but I saw, yelled at him, and he dropped the hen and ran away.

    Sounds like your neighbor does feel bad about the chicken. Maybe since his dog killed one this time, he will realize the dog can't be let loose.

    What about putting up a fence? Could that be an option for you? Or at least a fenced in run, so your chickens could be outside but still be safe?
     
  5. WhirlyBirds

    WhirlyBirds Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2014
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    Thank you for the kind words. I tend to be too nice. I just don't want to have any quarrels with my neighbors. They are very nice and I don;t blame their dog, he was just doing dog things. We are going to reevaluate the free-ranging and see about putting up fence for free-ranging under supervision.
     
  6. WhirlyBirds

    WhirlyBirds Out Of The Brooder

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    I do think now that the dog has killed a chicken, the neighbor will keep a better eye on his dog.
     
  7. WhirlyBirds

    WhirlyBirds Out Of The Brooder

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    Ol Grey Mare, I am ok with the loss of a bird or two as we learn and they free-range. We just have to get better and learn from our mistake. I'm just sad that it takes the death of one of my hens.
     
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] Yep, you are too nice. Hope that you are right.
     
  9. WhirlyBirds

    WhirlyBirds Out Of The Brooder

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    I guess I need to toughen up! [​IMG]

    LOL!
     
  10. spies04

    spies04 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have three dogs and also live in the country with our other livestock. But I am very careful to ensure our dogs never leave our property which is the responsibility of your neighbor. It does appear your neighbor does feel bad, but now it is up to him to ensure he keeps his dogs at bay as this is your property and your right to free range if you feel it the best way for your chickens. But I would agree that there is a risk to this no matter what and you may want to confirm that he is doing everything to correct the situation in the future. I am such an animal rights supporter - stop to help turtles cross the road, shew baby pheasants away from a busy road, adopt from the shelters, put a splint on my rooster who broke his leg (can you believe it [​IMG]) etc. But in Minnesota, we have the right to defend our property against any predators that can effect the well being of our livestock and I would do so. My birds are part of my family who rely on me to keep them safe which I will always do. I had a problem with a neighbor's dog who was chasing our horses continuously. It did NOT end with the death of the dog, but he was warned that we were not tolerating this anymore. It is not OK to put our animals at risk and our neighbors (both the good ones and bad ones) need to understand that we have these animals for a reason and it is not to be tormented by their pets.

    My birds are an extension of my family who I love and enjoy dearly. I feel for you and the situation that you have been put in. I am very sorry for your loss.
     

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