Backyard Poultry Keeping - dealing with dogsRSS feed

Posted: Tuesday 26 August, 2008

by Rosemary at 8:48pm in Poultry 5 comments Comments closed

I was running the second backyard poultry course on Saturday. One of the participants had asked a question about dogs and hens and I had explained that most dogs would naturally chase hens and would have to be trained to leave them alone.

A bit later, Dan stuck his head round the door, excused himself to the group, then told me that we had a mini-crisis; Buster, the Staffie belonging to the nearby taxi company, had killed one of our chickens. I excused myself and shot out, followed by Calum, who was on the course but is a friend of ours.

The field seemed to be covered in white feathers; Buster was eyeing up the Black Rock broody and the Cuckoo Maran chick, who are in a run. Buster, who is basically a nice dog, came when I called him and was removed from the scene by his owner. Then Dan said "The hen's gone!". After some searching, Miss Yellow, the victim, was found in some long grass. By some miracle, she is unharmed, if a little balder although I don't expect any eggs for a bit!

Buster is now confined to barracks!



Tuesday 26 August, 2008 at 11:05pm

Oh dear! Thank goodness she was ok. You don't realise how many feathers they have until there's a scuffle... :s


Tuesday 26 August, 2008 at 11:47pm

one of my parents dogs (a Gordon Setter) has an ASBO at my sisters house after killing a chicken and chasing many others. My sister owns 5 dogs and two of them have to be closely watched when the chickens are out in the back garden. Mind you, she also owns a border collie who's afraid of the sheep so dogs are pretty strange creatures anyway!

Brad K.

Wednesday 27 August, 2008 at 12:10am

In Arizona, a dog's owner is responsible for three times the value of livestock his dog threatens - even if the livestock is unhurt.

In Oklahoma, file a complaint about a dog killing livestock, including chickens, and the owener gets 24 hours to put the dog down. The chicken didn't get a reprieve, the dog doesn't either.

In farming country we generally recognize that a dog that kills livestock usually kills again. Sheepherders will put down, immediately, any dog that draws blood from the sheep.

It isn't Buster's fault, as you say, he follows dog habits. But because his owner failed to teach him discipline, and also broke the leash law - Buster was demonstrably not 'adequately fenced' - Buster should be put down. Otherwise a clear message is sent by the state to poultry owners and dog owners alike - livestock isn't going to be protected.

This is one place that the 'backyard poultry owner' may not appreciate the bigger picture of keeping livestock. You are responsible for protecting the livestock you take into your custody from reasonable and known hazards.


Wednesday 27 August, 2008 at 10:38am

We've lost far more chickens to dogs than to foxes over the years. Our own dogs are not the problem, as they know exactly where they come in the pecking order

Years ago, two dogs - beautiful golden retrievers - which were left alone all day every day by their owners two villages away - got out and hunted in a pack. They were wild, terrifying. They got about 40 chickens from three separate places. Mine were very securely penned in, but they ran round and round in a frenzy, diving at the netting (leaving deep impressions of their nose in the netting) until they made a hole. They killed all the chickens and ran on to the next lot, where they were caught (I was out, my mother-in-law, in her 80s, was unable to do anything but watch helplessly).

The next day the dogs were put down by order of a magistrate. And later the owners were barred from keeping dogs for a number of years.

So, yes, there are issues for poultrykeepers - and I'm very glad they come up in your class ... the very very worst part of keeping chickens is dealing with birds that have been attacked. I have found, though, that the birds are generally safer when there's a cockerel in the flock - do you think it helps?



Wednesday 27 August, 2008 at 10:02pm

Brad, for better or worse, things are a bit different here. Our police wouldn't be interested and the Dog Warden is a joke. I don't want Buster put down - this was a wake up call and I think the owners will take heed. Our local farmer, of course, might not have been so understanding. Although, one of his dogs did kill one of our hens some years ago...

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