Surrendering to neighborhood dogs and neighborhood mentality (what to feed / supplement chickens tha

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Suz13, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Suz13

    Suz13 Just Hatched

    16
    2
    14
    Aug 6, 2016
    Hello

    Here is my story ..... I live on a dirt road in a rural area where each person has a minimum of 10 acres. I lost two chickens and a duck about a week ago to one neighbors dog - the neighbor makes no effort to control his dog and yesterday a different neighbors dog attached our ducks. Had I not walked outside when I did she would have killed them all. That neighbor is of the opinion that I cannot have "prey animals" roaming on my property not being supervised and expect that his or other neighborhood dogs will not come onto my property and attack / kill them as it is their "instinct". He gave me permission to shoot his dog when it comes on my property (which I assume his wife and daughters would not appreciate).

    I completely disagree with his stance on what I can and cannot have on my property. However, I am aware I cannot "win this war" and I do not wish to shatter my relationships with all my neighbors or frighten my 3 young children by shooting all the neighborhood dogs.

    So other then wanting your sympathy for not being permitted to do what I want to do on my own property despite local regulations supporting me in that (which is why we saved for YEARS and bought 10 acres here). I was hoping for some advice on how to keep my confined chickens well fed and healthy (what to supplement / feed them) and how to keep them from getting bored / picking on each other. I am new to owning chickens and the nutritional info I have found is very confusing to me and I am not sure where to get some of the things mentioned. I have checked our local Tractor Supply and Atwoods and the options are extremely limited. I am hooping for some basic simple ideas to implement as I learn more. Our coop is fairly large and secure but the chickens prefer to free roam and they fight when I don't let them out of the coop. We have 15 several month old chickens the hens are due to start laying in early September (3 are roosters) and 8 more 4 week old chickens that SHOUD be hens.

    Thank you
    Suzanne
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    16,636
    4,291
    456
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    An idea you could try is some electric fence around your chickens area. A couple of strands that your birds could duck under to escape if necessary might work well. A good zap from the electric fence can pretty much guarantee most dogs won't return. I probably wouldn't bother with the poultry netting and just use a fencer and some electric wire with posts. Keeping roosters as look outs can be helpful too.

    I would feed a good All Flock ration for a bit of extra protein, a separate bowl of oyster shells, and one with grit. To help with boredom, scratch or a bit of wild bird seed mix can be scattered on the ground twice daily so they can scratch and find it. They have flock blocks for birds to peck, feeding various fruits and vegetables, and giving occasional grass clippings and even some hay or alfalfa can get them some greens and keep them busy.
     
  3. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,302
    1,097
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    I agree with oldhenslikedogs but I would also suggest building a run if you haven't already. That way they can get out of the coop but not free range. Or you could build a bigger area, maybe with the electric fence, so they could sort of forage.

    Or you could always just shoot near the dog and/or injure them, like shoot in the leg or something, so that way they would be scared off but not dead and maybe won't come back. Or if you have a pound/animal shelter near you, you could always just take him to the pound every time. Surely the inconvenience would be enough for them to keep him contained. Or catch him and bring him home.

    If it was me, when he said I can't have prey animals on my property and not expect dogs to chase them, I would have said "yeah well you can't let your dogs roam." But clearly he doesn't care at all about his dog if he said you could shoot it and I understand not wanting to get in a fight with your neighbors. But it's not your job to fence your animals in on your own property, it's their job to keep their dogs home. You could probably make him pay for the dead animals.

    But aside from all that, I guess the only thing you can really do at this point is build a run for your animals and/or fence a larger portion. The run doesn't have to be hardware cloth, you can use 2x4 welded wire or cattle panels (you can look up hoop coops), and use hardware cloth on the bottom few feet to save money. Don't use chicken wire though, dogs and other animals can tear right through it. I'd make the outdoor run 10 square feet per bird, 4 square feet inside the coop. And/or you can use electric wire or field fencing or something and make a larger area for them.
     
  4. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

    890
    177
    121
    Oct 16, 2015
    Desert Hills, AZ
    I only live on an acre with a 6' block wall surrounding it but I still keep my birds in a secure coop/run due to wild predators. I have 25 pullets and a rooster and feed them Nutrena Naturewise layer 16% Crumble and they all do fine. I give them meal worms and vegetables once in a while too. If yours are fighting when enclosed then your enclosure is probably way too small.

    You're in a tough spot but you are 100% correct. He is supposed to keep his animals on his own property and the fact that his dogs killed some of your livestock makes him liable. So, from the looks of it you have two possible choices. One, you can build a coop and secure run that is sufficiently large to maintain your birds so they don't get bored and fight, or two, you can call the law on your neighbor or sue him. It doesn't sound like he's going to do anything to restrain his animals but nonetheless I wouldn't shoot his dog(s) over a chicken or duck, but that's just me. You might be within your right to but at the very least it'll create really bad relations and at worst someone could get hurt and tensions could escalate. Besides, he'd probably just get another dog anyway and the cycle continues.

    If I were in your shoes I'd build large enclosures for them or keep them in an area surrounded by electrified fencing.
     
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Deliberately shooting to maim or injure instead of shooting to kill, in many areas can be deemed animal cruelty and bring charges against you and/or make you liable for all vet bills and other cost to the animal... And in many areas 'warning' shots are also illegal... IMO shoot to kill if there is an immediate and real danger to your animals or don't shoot at all...

    The legal stance in many area is if you didn't feel the treat was great enough to kill the threat immediately (aka you fired a warning or shot to injury) then the threat was not great enough to justify lethal force in the first place... And although many will disagree with this legal stance of shoot to kill or don't shoot at all, it holds true in most jurisdictions in the US...

    To the OP as for additional food, commercial chicken feed is designed to be a sole ration and the birds will sustain on it alone... That said treats like dark green leafy vegetables will improve yolk color more towards what free range eggs look like... And table scraps, pulled weeds and what not are also good treats...
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  6. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,302
    1,097
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts

    Hmmm, that's a good point and I admittedly hadn't thought of it. Although I wonder if it's different is his animals killed OP's or if he gave them permission to shoot the dog?? Wouldn't he be responsible? But then again robbers can sue for breaking their leg on your property or getting bitten by your dog so I guess don't listen to what I said. It is kind of mean to just injure him and let him limp home anyway, I guess. Hadn't really thought of how he'd get home or how bad it would hurt, especially in that rural of an area where it's a long way home. Bad idea. But weird that even warning shots are illegal in some places.
     
  7. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,302
    1,097
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    As for feed, commercial feed is fine. I started on Nutrena Naturewise layer 16% like ejcrist except that I fed pellets instead of crumble. But they were only on that briefly when i found Nutrena Naturewise Hearty Hen layer pellets and now I feed that. I like it better because it's higher protein (18% instead of 16%). If you feed a lot of treats, even scraps/veggies, or free range, which I was doing both at the time, that can lower the overall protein content of the food or cause imbalances so I chose and prefer a higher protein feed. But Tractor Supply didn't carry it, they carry mostly Purina products here so basically only have Nutrena Naturewise pellets and crumble layer feeds and chick starter/grower. And Feather Fixer. I found the Hearty Hen at our local feed store which is an Agway. They recently switched from Agway products to Nutrena which I prefer. So if you have an Agway around you they may carry it.

    But the regular layer pellets from them will work just fine as will Feather Fixer or even non medicated starter/grower.

    If you prefer to feed the ducks and chickens all one thing then some sort of all flock feed is good. Nutrena makes one called All Flock but our TSC doesn't carry it. They carry Purina's version called Flock Raiser. I personally prefer Nutrena products but Purina will do fine if it's all they have.

    But yeah, most of the commercial feeds will do just fine, doesn't need to be the expensive organic stuff. The only thing is I personally wouldn't feed Dumor or blue seal or any of that stuff but I'm sure chickens do do fine on it and I haven't really looked into it much tbh.

    But yeah.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  8. Suz13

    Suz13 Just Hatched

    16
    2
    14
    Aug 6, 2016
    Hi thanks so much for the replies - the inside coop area is about 5 x 10 and it does have a fully fenced outside run attached a 15 x 15 (hardware cloth on the sides and chicken wire on top also the coop and run are UNDER an RV shelter roof that was already there and unused). It is pretty secure and by the general rule should be enough space for them but they are fighting. It may just be they were used to free ranging and will eventually settle down. I will look into all the food and boredom busters mentioned. I have found a home for my ducks on a farm where there are lots of other farm animals. I have no plans of shooting my neighbors dogs at this point. I amy look into putting an electric wire around the bottom of the coop and run to discourage any possible attempts by dogs or other predators to get in.

    Thanks
    Suzanne
     
  9. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,183
    258
    211
    Jul 18, 2013
    Pennsylvania
    Meepbeep is correct. Years ago we were told you could shoot a dog after livestock but you couldn't send it home wounded.
    I'm just wondering what will happen after you build a run or fence in an area and the dogs are still hanging out on your property. In most places, especially if you can capture and restrain the dog, animal control will pick it up. In that case, especially f you mention the damage it caused, the owner must pay to get it back.
     
  10. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,302
    1,097
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts

    Sounds like you have a pretty good set up there :)

    I think it's probably just that they are used to free ranging and should settle down in time. Although they may be a teeny bit cramped.

    Ideally they should have 4 square feet per bird inside the actual coop and 10 square feet outside in the run. Of course these numbers vary depending on the birds but ideally.

    Is there any way to cut the number of birds or extend the run or coop? Even if you can't make the coop bigger, if you can make their outside area bigger or make a separate foraging area it might help. Could be partly the roosters too. Or does it seem like the hens are fighting?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by