1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Well, we let our guard down, and paid the price.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ninjapoodles, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    No one to blame but ourselves--we were busy doing other things this afternoon, and when one of our dogs mysteriously showed up on the outside of the yard fence, we just plunked her back into the yard and continued what we were doing, without stopping to investigate how she got out. We were just distracted at the time.

    A couple hours later, we go out to lock up the chicken yard for the night, and discover a slaughter, with 6 out of 7 dogs present. I probably don't have to tell you how much carnage 6 dogs can create amongst a bunch of sleepy chickens. [​IMG]

    We're not mad at the dogs, because it's OUR job to keep them and the chickens apart, and we failed. And to give them their due, they ate 100% of what they killed. I don't know how that makes me feel better, but I still remember how I felt after the huge fox massacre last spring, when I saw all those bodies just strewn across the yard. Somehow, the sheer waste upset me more than the loss, even.

    Some birds escaped and hid and were unharmed. Others were injured and hidden in various hidey-holes all around the property. We spent a good hour rounding them all up. I can't think of anything to do for the wounded ones besides spraying Blu-Kote or something on the plucked/skinned areas. Any ideas?

    We won't know for sure until daylight (and we're hoping there might be a few more out there hiding somewhere), but right now it appears that we've lost half our CB Marans, half the cuckoo Marans, one Easter Egger, and MOST of the Buff Orpingtons.

    And this observation on the copper black Marans: Through this attack, they came out with a MUCH higher survival rate than any of the others. I've always known they were "wilder" than the other chickens, and perhaps they have a better survival instinct. Almost every one that we found hidden after the attack was a CB Marans.
  2. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    :hugsOh gee! Sometimes we do pay the price but we learn from it!
  3. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Songster

    Sorry about what happened. That is an interesting observation about the survival instincts of different breeds. I have a mixture of hens and I believe the Orpingtons would let a steamroller run them down while they were looking at it. I don't think they are stupid...just so curious that they forget to get out of the way!
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I am very sorry, NP.

    Our poodles are bird dogs. They have a high prey drive. I don't trust them in the same room with a closed brooder either.
  5. arllcountrygirl

    arllcountrygirl lavender nutt

    Sorry for your loss.
  6. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Quote:Oh, me, either. And it's my MINIS who are the absolute worst. I am militant about keeping dogs and birds in separate worlds, and the first thing I said when I found out, was, "I can't believe, when we found Hope had gotten out, that we didn't stop what we were doing and find where she got out."

    Turns out, right next to the house, during the heavy rains, water from a downspout dug away a bit of earth--just enough to allow a determined poodle to worm through.

    Still--stupid, stupid, STUPID us for the fact of a dog being loose not REGISTERING with us. I mean, we just scooped her up and dropped her back into the yard, without even slowing down what we were doing!

    And yeah, it really looks like we mostly lost Orpingtons. We put down one who had managed to hide but was really torn apart, and the rest of them who are injured, we're just letting nature take its course.

    Even though I have a horrible history at hatching, I'm going to take the entire basket of eggs that is on our kitchen countertop, and set them in the incubator tomorrow. Will it likely matter that the eggs have been in a basket, not getting turned?
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Awww, I'm so sorry this happened! I hope & pray that you'll be pleasantly surprised at morning's light to find many more survivors than you expected. It seems you're doing the best for the wounded ones, perhaps you should wash out the deepest wounds before spraying the Blu-Kote, keep them confined in a dim place while they heal, give them some electrolytes or vitamins to help them recover better.

    Were you too far away to hear what was happening or was it done fairly quietly? I once lost a dozen hens to what must have been dogs, I was not at home but none of the neighbors said they heard anything.

    Your attitude is absolutely commendable, you're learning from your mistake, sharing your lesson with others, not blaming the dogs, even finding things to be grateful for. I know what you mean, it does seem even worse when chickens are killed but not eaten. And that's an interesting observation on the differences between the survival rates for the different breeds. Those Buff O's aren't built for speed, and their light color must make them easier targets too.

    The question I would be asking is "now that my dogs have enjoyed fresh chicken, how best can I prevent them from going back for more?"

  8. mlmadura

    mlmadura Songster

    May 1, 2008
    [​IMG] Oh wow.. Im so sorry.
    My 6 lb poodle who is my heart killed one of my baby chicks I had isolated from the others because it was sick - I felt horrible because I did not notice he had snuck in the room as I walked out and shut the door.
    The same poodle killed a 20lb pet rabbit - I thought they were palying but he went for the neck.

    My husband was furious - but I realize it is instinct and I know I have to be more careful

    ( I used to laugh when he chased birds around the yard [​IMG] )Not anymore. BTW he loves cats?????[​IMG]
  9. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    ooh ninja!..i'm very sorry to hear it!...[​IMG]..
  10. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Quote:We did not hear a THING. If we hadn't just happened to go outside to lock up at that time, I'm sure we'd have lost more. This just shows that the dogs were not in "play" mode--they were in serious "hunt and kill" mode. There was no barking, and we didn't hear any ruckus from the birds, either.

    Sadly, the birds may be desensitized to the dogs as a danger, because they free-range all around the yard where the dogs play when they are outside, and they're used to the dogs chasing along the fence, barking at them. I wonder if they got used to being "chased" without being caught, and just didn't take evasive measures when the fence was no longer between them. [​IMG]

    Also, we commonly have a dog or two with us while we do poultry chores, so again, the birds may have become acclimated to dogs who are on their best behavior while Mom & Dad are WATCHING.

    I don't think it's as much the taste of the meat (our dogs have eaten a raw diet for over a decade now) as the thrill of the chase that got them going, and I don't think there's anything to really be done about that predator instinct--but just redouble our efforts and vigilance at keeping them apart.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: