Shouldn't my pullets *try* to defend themselves or am I expecting too

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Urbanchickens, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. Urbanchickens

    Urbanchickens In the Brooder

    May 23, 2007
    Am I expecting too much? I am new to chickens. They are about 5-6 mths old and free range. The only attacks have come from dogs so far (puppies, actually). And I don't think the dogs were trying to kill but their "playing" was enough to injure or kill. First time, the puppies were ours, raised around the chicks, but they decided it would be fun to chase and jump on the chicks. We relocated the pups. Second attack was yesterday from a stray that climbed through our gate. Our girls ran from both these attacks for just a few seconds then just cowered down and (it seems) waited for the killing blow. Luckily, we were home both times and were able to save our birds.

    Shouldn't they fly, peck, claw, something? We have a grown Lab who patrols the same yard they free range in. Could they be too comfortable with dogs because of our pet? Most days they are home alone and I just wish they had a stronger survival instinct.
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Most hens wont fight back, IMO, however, a rooster will. He will probably lose the fight, but its in his nature to defend the women and he just will, no matter how large or small he is. I haven't heard of too many hens actually defending themselves against predators. They usually try to hide.
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    Hens do not fight and they typically don't even see an attack coming unless they have a rooster to warn them. They're only defense against such creatures is to run and hope they can outrun it or lay down and accept their fate. Dogs should not be around them unsupervised, since the dog's natural instinct is to chase/hunt. I would suggst you take additional measures to protect your girls.

  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Yeah, I bet the hens probably crouched to admit defeat not knowing their defeat was potential death. Only sure thing I have ever seen fight back against almost certain death was a broody hen! Not even the rooster would mess with some predators, but that broody, not right in the head, will give up everything for her brood. It's your job to keep them safe since they are pretty low on the food chain.
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Really, though, even if a hen fought back, she really doesn't have any weapons to use against a dog.
  6. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    Quote:Nope, not unless she had spurs (very rare) and even then she'd probably lose. The only way a chicken would win a fight against a dog would be to scare it off and that typically doesn't happen. My roosters will take on a cat, but not the dogs. Then hens will be bold and steal cat food until the cat strikes at it or the cat runs away.
  7. harv681

    harv681 In the Brooder

    Aug 20, 2007
    Two of my Barred Rocks will attack the cat, and our three dachshunds are completely intimidated! My daughter has a lab mix puppy that chases them, but even he will back down when Collar and Ossie puff up and advance beak first! The other girls squawk and run for cover, though, and I never leave them alone with any of the dogs.
  8. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    IN general....chickens self defence mechanism is to hide or run off frantically....which only illicits the chase instinct in many predators including dogs.

    At night- they are literally "sitting ducks"

  9. Alleyoops25

    Alleyoops25 Songster

    May 14, 2007
    I have had one RIR hen that chased our dog when she was trying to herd them. Our dog is scarred to death of that hen. But we also have a cochin roo that wont even run, he lays over and les the dog start plucking him alive, and using him for a chew toy. When we let the dog out we have to put him away so he wont get hurt.
  10. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    OH I forgot to say....

    Now take a momma hen with chicks and you'll see some fierce attacking. My 100 pound dog was visciously attacked by a mama hen-(no blood--but frankly, I was surprised the wasn't any!) He loves those little peeps, but gives them a wide berth since the incident!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: