What Do You Do When Your Dogs Are The Killers?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by The Monkey Mama, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. The Monkey Mama

    The Monkey Mama Songster

    Jun 12, 2008
    Kennesaw, GA
    I'm at my wits end. We have 2 dogs we adopted from a rescue as adults in the last year - one is a lab mix and one is a collie.

    We started keeping chickens back in January and with our first six pullets, our lab mix literally *ate through the wooden wall* and chewed until he could get in and he got one of our pullets and killed her. My husband then re-enforced the entire chicken house with MDF - expensive but effective, he can't chew through that.

    Since then we have bought bunches of eggs on eBay and raised a bunch of chicks. Right now we have a group of 8 week olds and a group of 3 week olds.

    I have worked and worked with the dogs for the last few months trying to teach them to leave the chickens alone - trying to teach them that they are "mine" and that they should protect them rather than kill them. I *thought* was making some headway there....

    We are always very careful to put the dogs inside in their crates when we are feeding and watering the chickens [and they live inside at night and part of the day, but we let them out in the yard some during the day for exercise and to play with the kids].

    Well, yesterday, one of the 8 week olds slipped out while we were watering them and we didn't realize it - she must have been hiding in some brush because we check every time after we water them. A few minutes later we let the dogs out [once we *thought* the chickens were secure in their run - a 6 foot chain link run]. The lab mix found the hiding chicken and was chasing her - I saw him and was able to catch her before he did and put her up safe, but I realized we had a problem still...

    Then today the stupid collie got one of the 3 week olds - who were in another enclosure altogether and look secure to me still - I can't figure out how she did it. I found her *chewing* on the poor little thing, torturing it - she was enjoying torturing it. I wrestled with her to get the chick out of her mouth and then the stinking lab mix ran over and took it and ran with it while I was trying to keep the collie off [of course this happened while my husband was at work and noone could help me!].

    AMAZINGLY, the chick survived. It was pretty pathetic looking - the collie ate most of its feathers off - but after a couple of hours it perked right up and now it is strutting around the brooder box like nothing happened [it just LOOKS weird and kinda plucked and chewed up].

    We have decided the dogs have to go - I just can't stand an animal that tortures other animals for fun. Killing something to eat is one thing, torturing something because you like the sound of it crying is something totally different. And despite our precautions, we are apparently unable to keep the dogs away from the chickens. And I think it is obvious that "training" is not going to work - I'm not going to undo their natural prey drive.

    I can't stand to lose another chicken and I never want to pull a poor chewed up baby out of a dog's mouth again. *sigh*

    How do others handle this? What do you do when YOUR DOG is the culprit?

    We are returning our dogs to the rescue where we adopted them if they will take them back. If not, I don't know what we will do. [​IMG] [​IMG]

  2. Toast n Jelly

    Toast n Jelly Songster

    Jan 29, 2007
    Kelly I would take them back too. If you want a dog then I quess it would be best to adopt a pup that is used for the protection of farm animals and train him. I just couldn't go through what you just did and keep my sanity:(
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Last year (my first year with chicks) my wonderful, sweet dog that I love so much pulled my favorite chick through the fence and ate her! I was so upset but it was all my fault. I didn't know that I needed to put 1" chicken wire around the 2x4 welded fence and she stuck her head through and he grabbed her.

    Yes, I was furious with my dog (I didn't speak to him the rest of the day.) but I didn't blame him because he did what dogs do. There are very few dogs that can truly be trusted around chickens - chickens make quick, jerky movements and run around and that's what drives dogs crazy ... they have to get one.

    My dog will stay with me always - I love him dearly. I learned from my mistake and have taken precautions to ensure that my dogs don't get my chickens again. That is my responsibility ... protect my chickens and protect my dogs from themselves.
  4. MonkeyZero

    MonkeyZero Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Well first, I cut his throat, then scald him in HOT water, cook him, and eat it!!! NOOOOOO Just kidding!!![​IMG] Im a vegetarian!!!!!!

    But what I do it give him a GOOD slap on his behind, everytime he jerks/goes for the chickens. I yell as well. Its a big NO NO!!! But if he wont stop, I put him in his huge cage that all 3 of them sleep in at night(the cage is HUGE). (its an unused rabbit cage).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2008
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I love my dogs too. But I have a terrier. I have one fenced in yard on the side of the house for the dogs, and a fenced in yard for the chickens.
    It's a decision only you can make. And if you decide to keep the dogs, you may need to make a good plan of how to keep the dogs from hurting the chickens, like maybe an outer fence around the coop, or a dog proof run.
    I would never trust any dog 100% with animals that scream "free meal". I'm sure there are trustworthy dogs out there, but chances are, most of us will end up with a dog that will eat a chicken at some point.
  6. cyanne

    cyanne Songster

    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    My husband and I were in a similar situation. We have 4 much older dogs: 2 little papillons, a lab, and a lab mix. The lab, Winston was diagnosed with cancer about a year and a half ago and though he has seemed fine, the vet said that he could take a turn for the worse and die any time.

    Since the lab mix, Lulu, is his best friend, we decided to adopt a rescue dog to hopefully soften the blow for her when Winston is gone.

    So, we adopted a basenji mix...well, he was a GREAT dog when we were home, just a sweetheart, but we found out pretty quickly that he needed WAY more attention than we were able to give. He hated staying home while we were at work (my other dogs don't seem to mind at all and just lay around sleeping all day), and would become destructive while we were out. He dug and chewed and climbed all day to get out of the fence if we left him outside and could not be trusted loose in the house so he had to be penned up in a kennel if we were not home. We HATED penning him up in a cage all day, and he obviously was unhappy as well. When we were home he was so desperate for attention that he would follow us around everywhere jumping on us and tripping us wherever we went to the point that you'd just get sick of it.

    The final straw was the chickens, though, because he took one look and decided he wanted to eat them and was pretty determined about it. More like obsessed, really. Since we'd already been through replacing chewed fences and putting up electric wires just to keep him in the yard (all unsuccessful), we knew that it would be a losing battle to keep him from eating the chickens, so we put him up for adoption on Craigslist.

    The bottom line was that he wasn't happy with us, and we weren't happy with him, so the best thing for everyone would be to find him a place that would love him and be a better fit.

    In the craigslist ad, we were up-front about his desire to eat chickens and his need to have someone with lots of time to spend with him and found a nice, chicken-free home within about a week. So, I guess if the rescue org won't take yours back, this might be an option for you.

    Just be sure to put an adoption fee of $50 or so to prevent weirdos from taking them for dog fighting bait or whatever.

    Good luck!
  7. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    I am so fortunate with my shelties. I think they are little people, not dogs. I can't tell you how many times Ive come home from work, with Sweetie meeting me at the door with chicks following her that hopped out of the brooder. She and Mikey would never ever EVER consider hurting a chick, or a chicken. I am very lucky to have them.
  8. FlockEweFarm

    FlockEweFarm Songster

    Jun 11, 2008
    I have to deal with this every single day, and to top it off, the dog that is obsessed with catching and torturing and then killing my babies, is a dog that I hate. I dont say the word hate lightly, I am one of those that believes that all animals have some redeeming value or quality, or something about them that makes them worth feeding and not skinning and selling on ebay as a ,"calf hide",(not that I have put any thought into it), but my ex-husbands birddog is one of those rare dogs that I loathe. She even irritates my bloodhound, and he is really hard to annoy. You have to be vigilant, and you have to think like a combination chicken and idiot birddog, meaning that I go around every single day at chicken level, and I look for breeches in my 3 layers of defense against her. I have now, 3 rows of hot wire, 2 layers of wire fencing, including field fencing and 1 inch chicken wire, and I have a perimeter of wire laid down flat on the ground and extending out 2 feet and covered with rock and dirt, so that she cannot dig in. My fence is 7ft high, I keep the birds wings trimmed so they cant fly, and I have a bell and a drag chain on the dog, so that she cant sneak up on them any more. She got one, and after I took it away from her and beat her with it, I tied it to her for what I had hoped would be a lesson that would cure her, it didnt, she ate it, and went back to try for more. I have 4 other dogs that are not chicken killers, but I dont trust them as far as I could throw them. Really, really strong hotwire seems to be the best deterrent. Some day I hope she will just give herself a heat stroke and drop dead as she is pacing outside the coop non-stop, but I doubt it.
  9. Quote:I understand the frustration, and returning the dogs is the easy way out. I don't mean to sound hateful, but you took on the responsibility of the dog as a fully aware adult, and you should deal with that responsibility as necessary.

    First of all, to deal with the chickens, where there is a will there is a way. Corrugated aluminum, electric fencing, perimeter fencing are all ways that you can separate the dogs from the birds. I have a coop in my back yard, and I have taken the time to build a picket fence from recycled fence boards to keep the dogs out. And I have 4 very bird oriented hunting dogs.

    Second, the dogs have been given back probably countless number of times. Be the person that they need and show them the life they can have. Find an obedience class. Petsmart has them all the time. If you look I'm sure there is a K-9 training place in your area, or even a private trainer. And it may just be something simple like finding something to keep them EXTREMELY busy. Dont just give them back and take the easy way out.
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I think the suggestion to get a LGD was a good way to go. If you have little emotional investment in these dogs, it would be best to give them away. A new puppy would keep the kids from getting sad about the episode also! [​IMG] I would pay close attention to the parents temperament and intelligence when I went looking for a pup, though. Good luck with your dilemma! [​IMG]

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