A couple of weeks ago our chickens were out free ranging and my husband noticed them all come running toward the back of house, he walked around the front of the house to find two large dogs, he chased them off. Then a week or so ago we let our chickens out to free range. Luckily we were outside when we heard them cackling and sounding like they were in danger. We have lots of trees and they were just beyond our back yard in a wooded area. I ran around the trail to find a dog, a large dog , with one of my Buffs in his mouth. I yelled and he dropped her and she took off to the yard. We finally found her back, she was missing lots of feathers but had no puncture wounds.
Then yesterday, my husband let out the big chickens to free range, a hour or so later I hear our dog barking furiously, the kids and I took off out the door to find another dog already way out in the field with one of our Buffs in his mouth. My daughter and I ran towards him and I yelled, he stopped and looked at us but wouldn't drop the hen, so I kept yelling and then started yelling drop it, drop it, drop it. He dropped her and she came running. She seems okay but is limping a little, we didn't find any puncture wounds on her either, but she didn't have as many feathers missing either.
Then last night, I wake up about 2:30 to hear our dog barking furiously again. I went and looked out and she came running to the back porch, then ran back towards the chickens pens and was jumping up like there was something on top of the pen or in the tree nearby. I knew something had to be there, so I woke my husband. He grabbed the gun and we went out with a flashlight and found a coon on top of our Silkies pen. Needless to say the coon is no more, and all the Silkies are fine.
Getting really tired of having to rescue my poor Buffs. I only have four left plus the roo due to deaths of unknown origin over the last year or two. Wish people would keep their dogs in their yards. The first dog was a beautiful dog, but not with my Buff hanging upside down in its mouth.
I have found that my Buff Orpingtons are the most frequent victims also. They are just big gentle ladies who trust everyone. Fortunately the 15 acres nearest to our house is fenced and cross-fenced in dog-proof fencing so my chickens can "free range" fairly safely during the day. We did have a probably rabid raccoon that killed a few in the day until she was dispatched. And the hawks take one occasionally, otherwise they seem fairly safe.
I know the feeling! DOGS are the reason Im concentrating only on raising Large Fowl Hens now! I have Buff Orpingtons and BCM's, now cross breeding them for darker eggs and more dependable layers. Since the Maran Roo is a little more aggressive than any Buff O Roo Ive ever had, I figure the new Cross bred Hens will be a little more apprehensive to predators than the Buff O's. Hopefully they will let me know whenver a predator comes prowling! I find that hawks just give up when they only see large Hens, so hopefully there want be a worry with them, once I get the chicks grown.
I only keep enough Bantams, Silkies and Seramas, that will fit into my fully enclosed compounds. I have to be very selective to keep only the best, cause I just do not have enough room to have as many as Id like! The poor things very seldom get to free range. I only let them out in a very small area and only when I have the time to sit and watch over them... I do NOT trust hawks.
As for Dogs...well Ive had a good talk with neighbors...They know I dont PLAY!
A few weeks ago I looked out to see a large brown dog's head sqeezed between the fence and the gate. He could get his head in and no more.
It was on a Sunday, so Animal Control wouldn't have been too happy with me calling them I figured. Plus I don't like to bring too much attention to my chickens. I felt unsure on what to do.
At the end of the day the dog was still there and had torn off one picket on the gate and had dug a big hole trying to get in. So, I went out and tried to "shoo" him away. "YOU GET" I said over and over and kind of chased him around. That didn't help any, in a few minutes he was back at the gate. So, I did something rather bad I suppose. I picked up a limb and whacked him with it. Guess I hit him pretty hard on the back because he took off running, and never came back.
Maybe I shouldn't have done that, but when I thought about what he wanted to do to my chickens I got pretty angry. Then, I went out and repaired the fence. So far so good.
I'd shoot them and feed it to the coyotes. There are to many strays running loose and people that don't bother to take care of their animals. Quick kill is the kindest thing for them than be hungry enough to attack peoples pets or humans that get in the way