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The thread title says all, but I need to explain in a little more detail

When my wife and I moved to the farm in July - August 2013 we brought with us 13 hens. These hens were a year and a half old.

Between February - March 2014 my wife and I bought around 20 chicks.

We are back to 13 hens and one rooster. Some of the original chickens disappeared, and the new ones took their place. But we are back to the original number we started with.

Between a chicken hawk, fox or coyote, and my dogs killing the chickens, the ratio of new chickens that have died sits at 100 percent.

My wife and I loaned a rhode island red rooster to my cousin, he is doing good. My wifes buff orpington rooster had a stroke. Those are the two extra chickens we have left out of the new we bought.

It is rather depressing to put so much time and effort into raising something, then a dog, coyote, fox, or chicken hawk takes all your hard work.

Last weekend my dogs caught one of the new rhode island reds and tore her up pretty good. To end her suffering she was put down.

For those of you who follow my youtube channel, yall know I have been working on a new chicken yard. The new yard is working well. The dogs stay on one side the the fence and the chickens stay on the other side.

The chicken that was killed last weekend got out of the yard. I can only do so much to protect my chickens. They have to stay in the yard when the dogs are loose.

6 weeks ago my wife and I ordered another batch of chicks. These are doing much better than the original set we got in February - March. They are being kept in an enclosed run and not allowed to roam free. When they get big enough they will be moved into the new chicken yard.

New chicken house

 

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That substantially fancier than what I have for a chicken house.

In the last 8 years I have lost track of all the birds I've lost. Some to stray dogs, some to birds and some just no idea. It sucks for sure and now I get 6-10 peeps every spring and either cull a couple when they are laying or give a couple of the older ones to someone to get started.

Apparently whoever the TSC store here gets their straight runs from must have been drunk since I have two rooster out of 8 supposed hens this time around.
 

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Vampire Slayer
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That substantially fancier than what I have for a chicken house.

In the last 8 years I have lost track of all the birds I've lost. Some to stray dogs, some to birds and some just no idea. It sucks for sure and now I get 6-10 peeps every spring and either cull a couple when they are laying or give a couple of the older ones to someone to get started.

Apparently whoever the TSC store here gets their straight runs from must have been drunk since I have two rooster out of 8 supposed hens this time around.
Straight run means as hatched. There will be both sexes.
 

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Rational Being
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Now you see why I went through so much effort building a coop like Fort Knox. ;)

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=306605

Chickens are stupid.
Chickens are weak.
Chickens are tasty.

Not a great combination. Makes us work extra hard to keep them alive and healthy.

A chicken owner doesn't usually learn from other people's mistakes. I didn't. I thought all the warnings were silly. Why would a perfectly healthy chicken decide to drown itself in a bucket of water? How could any predator possibly fit through chicken wire? Why would a hawk feel safe taking a chicken out of an open run during daylight? What do you mean a dog that tastes chicken once will do it again? I lost chickens for all those reasons and more.

Sorry for your loss. I think we've all been there. Hope the new coop/run works out for you. It looks good.
 

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Sorry that you lost so many, I know how bad that sucks. This is my first year with chickens and I started with 6 and lost 2 a few months back. They died from eating poisonous berries, which I specifically fenced into their paddock thinking it was going to be extra food for them, live and learn. On the bright side of things, I got my first eggs this morning from them, so that made me smile. Hopefully you get it all worked out so they have a higher success rate, I wish you luck!
 

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Rational Being
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Sorry that you lost so many, I know how bad that sucks. This is my first year with chickens and I started with 6 and lost 2 a few months back. They died from eating poisonous berries, which I specifically fenced into their paddock thinking it was going to be extra food for them, live and learn. On the bright side of things, I got my first eggs this morning from them, so that made me smile. Hopefully you get it all worked out so they have a higher success rate, I wish you luck!
Man, Doc. That's rough. :( Glad your other birds are okay.

My husband found some bright red berries growing in our woods. He picked an entire plant and brought it in. Said, "These look yummy!" and set it on the counter. I'm so glad he didn't give them to the chickens or eat any himself. Bittersweet nightshade. What were the berries your chickens ate?

This living in the country thing isn't for sissies, is it? Yikes. So many dangerous plants.
 

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Sorry you lost so many chickens. We only have 3 but haven't lost one yet and they are almost 3 years old and still laying just about an egg a day ( black sex linked). We used hardware cloth dug 1 ft into the ground, and covering all openings of the inside chicken coop. The outside run has regular chicken wire but they are only outside during the day. We only let them free range when we are home and the dog would immediately alert us if anything was in the yard. We put them up inside the coop at night. We have had ***** and possoms trying to get in, but they failed. So you need to build a better chicken coop :)
And teach your dog to leave them alone. Ours just herds them into the coop, she doesn't eat them.
 

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Apocaloptimist
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In January I bought 15 chickens and 3 Guineas. I have only lost 1 Guinea and 1 rooster. I think the guinea was egg-bound and the rooster was killed by...the dominant rooster. I converted a 8x12 storage shed into a coop and made a run out of 2x4's and that 2x4 Red Brand wire. My predators include coyotes, opposums, racoon, grey fox, and one siting of a bobcat about a 100 yards away from the coop. maybe I'm just lucky...or I do really smell that bad.

Don't give up Kev, order another batch!
 

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You might consider bird netting they sell in the gardening department ,over the yard .
It's not that expensive ,and you would only need a lite frame to support it ,probably out of PVC.
Merely putting a fence between the dogs and chickens does not cure the problem .
A dog is a predator and a predator the sees something run, is prey .
Dogs are also prone to be like bullies and look for a reaction and the more they get one the more it feeds their predator instinct.
I would either move the dogs to a completely different area, or at least reduce their visual of the chickens, with any thing that will block their view.
Your chicken house is nice , personally coming from snow country I look at the pitch of the roof with a little concern,but other then that, good job.
I have a 6'X6'X6' dog kennel I use as a secondary chicken house when I start having predator trouble .
Just recently there has been some new construction in the area so it is driving the animals elsewhere for a food source .
The neighbors around me have lost all their chickens due to predators, and not doing any thing about it to alter their security, just patching ,that generally doesn't work, predators learn, and will find a way unless you out think them. I had to add chicken wire to the kennel because a cat was pulling them through the chain link, eating them through the fence material.
I also added a harbor freight battery powered motion sensor light ,and that seems to have deterred the cats as well adding some heavy shrink wrap plastic to reduce the visual.
I am about to rebuild my primary area with a complete fenced enclosure bird netting and all, because I hope to have a verity of other birds as well, in the same enclosure.
I am hoping to eventually get a brooder and start raising chicks .
 

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It is a shame that you are having so many chickens lost, Kevin. You need to get a large dog that think of the chickens as part of the pack. Females are better (IMO) than males. You keep the dog with the chickens and it will protect them. Personally I would never keep a dog that could not be trained to tolerate and protect the household animals. My family had good luck with white German shepherds.
 

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I can't get the Youtube to load for some reason, but I would second the idea of having netting--or something more substantial--over the top of the pen. Chickens can fly higher and farther than you'd think, and predators can climb fences easily. I've lost chickens to everything imaginable over the years, *****, foxes, dogs, neighbor's fricking cats, and even hawks and owls. Until you get a pen that is impossible for anything to get through the walls, to dig under the walls or doorway (I dug a 12" deep trench that was about 6" wide under the doorway and filled it with cement) or to get in through the top, you'll continue to lose birds.

Once I got my pen so that nothing could gain entry from the sides, by digging, or by going in the top, I haven't lost a bird to predators in years, with the exception of a hawk flying away with a silkie hen one day a couple years ago.

I'm sorry to hear you lost your new chicks. That's really disheartening.
 

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It is a shame that you are having so many chickens lost, Kevin. You need to get a large dog that think of the chickens as part of the pack. Females are better (IMO) than males. You keep the dog with the chickens and it will protect them. Personally I would never keep a dog that could not be trained to tolerate and protect the household animals. My family had good luck with white German shepherds.
I have a female German Shepherd and she wouldn't hurt the chickens. She scares them sometimes by running circles around them, but doesn't touch them. And she eats raw chicken all the time
We did get her after we got the chickens, so when she was a puppy the chickens sort of bullied her :D:
 

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I have had problems with ***** and dogs in the past. I put 2 strands of electric fence low around the outside run. The only problem that I have had since was when it wasn't plugged in.
 

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Great Pyrenees dogs for chickens

We cannot keep chickens without Great Pyrenees dogs. You should start with a pup and keep him with the chickens as he grows up. They develop "ownership" of the chickens and protect them with their lives. We tried other breeds of dogs throughout the years, but none work. Some Pyrs have an inherited ability to watch the sky for chicken hawks. Mine go bananas when a chicken hawk flies over. They run toward them and jump toward the sky, barking and threatening. Our Pyrs are so good that hens can raise their young naturally without losses.
 

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Yup, you have chickens and you live out in the wild. And you have dogs.

You will lose chickens.

Sucks losing 20 out of 33 chickens, but that is what it is like for us out here in the wilderness. I don't usually lose that many, but my dogs don't kill as many as yours do. No thanks to the chickens. It was after I first got chickens that I learned where the phrase "bird-brained" comes from. I have a Jack Russell male who I am trying to teach not to kill chickens (he has killed a few) and he does pretty well. Nine times out of 10, and always if I am around he will not bother a chicken, but this dogs spends his day running back and forth at the fence line barking at the chickens (he is a terrier, and he is bored) and the chickens will still come into his area if he stops for one minute. Only reason he doesn't pounce right away is because he knows he is not allowed, but he can only resist for so long...

I also have a female Jack who mostly likes to run through the hens and stir them all up and panic them; we did catch her with a chicken in her jaws once but we go there just in time. I guess she couldn't help herself that one time. Dogs will be dogs.

Seems like you are figuring things out. Get them chickens to reproduce themselves and you will be ahead of the game.
 

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As someone said, if you have chickens, you'll lose chickens.
I keep hatching chicks each year because I know that eventually something will trim down the flock.

My first hatch expired a couple days after because heat got tripped off and it was to cold for the little guys. I did have 6 survive but gave them to a young girl that wanted to learn how to do poultry.

My second hatch got eaten by some aggressive Magpies, one at a time all day until there were none left. The Magpies are no longer with us but neither are the chicks.

The third hatch wasn't very well fertilized, we only got a handful of chicks but they grew and thrived.

The fourth hatch was the best of the season. 17 chicks, lost one to disease and one to a hawk when they were old enough to be outside. I threw in a clubfoot hen that lost her toes to frost, she played strange for a day then adopted them like her own. Gotta love Heritage breeds.

A little discouraging to be sure, but life is like that.
Consider myself fortunate in the end.

The older hens are now teaching the new guys to roost WAAAY up in the rafters for safeties sake.

333
 

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We loose very few birds in the main pen. the pen has chickens, ducks turkeys and a wayward guinea. Chickens in the yard do not fare well. Coyotes sneak in at night. Even with 4 dogs. I have shot several coyotes but they keep coming back. Guineas do well open range but they don't reproduce well. Ducks get eaten as fast as chickens. Turkeys do better but they tend to run off with the wild turkeys unless penned. 13 chickens is a lot of chickens. They will lay a lot of eggs. You should get a dozen eggs most days. I bought a cheep foam incubator and hatch eggs. We always have chicks in the brooder. This winter I will build a large incubator. If you want free range birds raise guineas, you need to harvest the eggs and hatch them out yourself but they will forage on their own and roost high enough to be fairly secure.
 
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