May 5, 2017

Heartbroken



We had a massacre. All of our chickens were killed. Hubby woke up on Tuesday morning and found that something had gone into the coop and dragged each of our Rhode Island Reds out and killed them. We were devastated. We never really considered the chickens as our pets; we never named them and didn't really hold them that much, but they were still our animals and we were saddened by the loss.

We weren't sure what got into the coop or when it happened. We had a class that got out late Monday night so when we came back home we basically called the dogs in and went to bed. The dogs were a little slow to come into the house, but nothing too concerning. So now that we knew something got the chickens we were wondering if the dogs had got into the coop while we were at class or if something had snuck in during the middle of the night after the dogs had come inside.

A neighbor had seen a raccoon at their house, and raccoons are tricky animals that can break into coops. Monday night I happened to notice a small spot in the coop where the hardware cloth was coming apart, but it wasn't nearly large enough for one of the dogs to get in. Hubby said when he found them the next morning it might have been large enough for Maggie, the puppy, to fit, but not really Lexy. We just couldn't have pictured the dog going in and dragging them out.

The ameraucana chicks were spared. They were in their small coop. We had started the process of introducing the two flocks. We wanted the Rhodies to start getting used to the ameraucanas without being able to injure them.

Hubby patched up the coop. He reattached the hardware cloth to the coop. There were staples about every two inches. He also made changes to the coop to allow the ameraucanas free to roam. We had to lower the feeder and waterer so they could reach. We talked about how the dogs had been sullen and avoided Hubby all day and then decided to get tacos from a local taco truck (it was Tuesday after all).

That night when we home the dogs were really energized. Lexy was panting so hard she could hardly climb up the stairs. I was afraid that the dogs might be chasing whatever it was that broke into the coop. Well we walked outside and found they had broke into the coop again and this time killed the ameraucana chicks. This time there was no denying that it was the dogs that broke into the coop. Unfortunately it wasn't the first time they'd killed chickens either.

They pulled at the corner of the door and pulled and pulled until it created a hole large enough for them to get in the coop. So it looks like we will be reinforcing the coop before getting any more chickens. Around the rest of the coop we've buried the hardware cloth underground so it would be much harder for predators to get into the coop. The door is a weak spot because we can't bury it underground. We are considering screwing it between two pieces of wood. so they can't open it.

We know that it is in the dog's nature to want to get chickens and that it is our job to protect the chickens from predators. So we are sad about the incident, but will resolve to do better.

Have you ever had a predator break into your coop? How did you secure the coop?

How we lost our chickens.
Shared on Homesteader Hop,

10 comments:

  1. I am so sorry to hear this. I know you'll find the solution to secure your next batch of hens. Have you considered getting a rooster or other guard animal (llama, donkey)?

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    1. Legally we can't have a rooster (and only 8 hens). I'm not sure another animal would have protected them much either. We have considered putting an electric fence around the coop to keep the dogs away though!

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  2. So sorry, this has to hit hard. We become attached to our animals, standard farm animals as well as our pets. As much as I would love to have a few hens, with bears and other animals here on the peninsula, your story is why I won't. Take care.

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    1. Thanks. We are saddened by it, but having the chickens is worth it to us for the eggs and the entertainment.

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  3. Omg I am so very sorry!

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    1. Thank you for your condolences!

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  4. So, so sorry to hear about your loss. My heart is sad for you and your hubby.

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    1. Thanks, I just wish it hadn't been our dogs that did it. We have to plan a better way to keep them out of the coop!!

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  5. Aw no :( That is really sad - I am sorry! This happened to family of mine in England; a fox got in and killed all of their chickens. They did not end up getting more chickens though. I hope that you do!

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    1. Thank you, we are already considering when we can get more. We really have grown attached to having chickens.

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