Saturday, 19 May 2007

Sad News

I have had a very sad update from Jason Akin (a lot of you will remember Jason’s split-level coop design featured a few weeks ago). I will let Jason explain – we hope that sharing his tragic story will help others avoid having a similar experience.

Woe is me! On May 5th while my family and I were at the beach, my neighbors dogs dug under the fence and killed all but one of my chickens. We only had them for a couple of months before this tragic event, so I was quite surprised to see how upsetting this situation was to both my and my neighbors family.

To help prevent this from happening again I worked late into saturday night burying chicken wire along our fenceline. On sunday the neighbors responded in kind and dug in their own run of chicken wire, and by the end of the week they had also put lattice down to stop erosion and discourage digging, and put in a single strand electric wire fence.
Bless their hearts. I feel fortunate to have such good neighbors.

The surviving chicken, Tabetha (formerly Tastybird), survived without a scratch by flying into the neighbors (now) dog-free yard. She was obviously traumatized by the massacre and misses her coopmates. She now sleeps with two teddy bears and gets tucked in at night by my wife and me. The teddy bears seem to provide the comfort and security she lost.

Lessons learned...

1. Don't free range your birds in the suburbs if you aren't there to watch them.
2. Don't think that a 90Lb dog won't fit through an 8 inch hole.
3. Just because your dogs learned to live peacefully with fowl does not mean that all dogs will live peacefully with fowl.
4. Chickens can win your heart as easily as any other pet.

Thought I should share my story (part of the healing process, y'know).

Pensacola Fl, USA

p.s. My wife is now in the market for chicken diapers so Tabetha can hang out in the house without leaving a deposit.


Clare Brown said...

How horrible! - I've only had my chickens for a few months, and already they are such a big part of my life. I can only imagine how hard it must be for Jason and his family to come to terms with.

Kim said...

OH man, that's terrible! I guess you have to raise chickens more as a hobby and as pets to be able to understand. I only have three wonderful girls, Lucy, Dixie, and Stella. I'd be devastated if something happened to them!

We're just starting our outside run for the girls. My hubby has some metal flashing that we're going to put down 12 inches around the bottom.


Val said...

So sorry Jason! What a horrible story. BUT, thank you for sharing! I was already keeping my chickens in, but was having thoughts of letting them roam while we were gone, and with your story, I won't be doing that. I hope that your Tabetha and your new flock (I am sure you will get more right?) will be happy and safe.

{{{hugs}}} Thank you for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Hi Jason, I am so sorry to hear about your chickens, I know how sad it is for you.
We incubated 12 eggs earlier this year and 8 hatched; 6 Hybrids and 2 Lavender Araucanas. The 2 Araucanas were very friendly and very quickly became my sons' favourites. From 6 weeks old, all 8 had the run of our garden whenever we were around to supervise. One day the boys (age 6 and 3) were outside 'playing' with their pets, I had to run into the house to answer the phone, suddenly my 6 year old came running into the house screaming saying that a dog has killed 'Chaf-One' his favourite Araucana.
A very irresponsible 16 year old girl was walking her family dog, let the dog of the lead and was not able to control the animal, it found it's way into our garden and killed my son's favourite chicken in front of him. My son was very upset because he had seen this animal killed his favourite chicken and he was unable to do anything to prevent it.
The whole episode upset all of us as a family, although we only had the chicks for 7 weeks, the fact that we had hatched them ourselves and 'brought' them up, we were all very attached to them.
I totally understand how Jason feels, but unlike his neighbours, this girl's family just laugh at us and could not understand how a dead chicken could cause so much distress to us.
We had a 'funeral' the next day for the 'Chaf-One' and although that was 3 weeks ago, my son still talks about 'Chaf-One' and visits it's 'grave' everyday.

Jim said...

I know how Jason feels, last May my neighbors' dogs(three) chased my chickens from their pen into the coop, they crashed a hole in the door and got in and killed five of my six birds, the survivor, Henryetta is still so traumatized that she's afraid of anything that's bigger then her. However, I have since added one adolescent rooster, one adult hen, and three adolescent hens, and most I've added sixteen chicks now six weeks old. Henryetta is still traumatized, BUT she rules the roost. My first rooster's name was Charlie, he was absolutely gorgeous. My new rooster's name is Charlietwo, he's coming along nicely, But Henryetta rules. I'm still trying to determine the males from the females. Here's another thing, both my layers and another one,(I don't know which one) are all using the same nest. I have fifteen to choose from. THANX for reading my note.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see so many caring people keeping chickens and "loving" them and other pets as well.My son says i am mad about them,not a bad thing!

pepsi666 said...

I had 2 foxes get into my run, killed all my birds, foxes couldnt get out, they met a simular fate as my birds,
Sorry for those people who love foxes, but they are no better than rats as far as I am concernerd, still these 2 wont be killing any more of my hens (they were only little frizzles, not much bigger than a pigeon, so they didnt stand much chance)

littletownar said...

Jason I am sorry that you and your family lost your chickens. You are fortunate to have such good and understanding neighbors though. Hopefully this will not happen again.

Last year I bought almost two acres in the country and I have chickens, turkeys, and two White Chinese Geese, all of which I have raised from hatchlings. Unfortunately I have lost several to coyotes and bobcats. This was before the fencing was up so no recent losses thankfully.

Night before last a bear broke the fence down and came in and dumped out the Hen Scratch but nothing else was harmed. The next day I installed a hot wire along the top of the fence.

I enjoy my birds very much and they are a lot of company to me but it seems it takes constant vigilance to keep them safe. I'm sure there are dangers out there even now for many of our birds that are trying to figure ways to get their next tasty snack. However we can't just give up and quit. You have a great coop you built Jason and it should be occupied again.
~ Jim

Anonymous said...

How Awful!! Im getting some chooks when we move house in 2 weeks, I will be keeping them in their run when I'm not there to watch over them.

I like pepsi666's way of dealing with foxes, I'll keep the cross bow handy.

Dave and Angela Moore said...

We had a raccoon in our coup about 2 months ago and I had a chance to shoot it but chose to chase it away. It apparently came back 3 days later and killed a hen and bantam rooster. "Woulda, coulda, shoulda." as the saying goes.

A month later, some animal killed the last 2 hens and rooster we had, my wife was devastated. There have been chickens on this property continuously since 1939, and now we have none (we've owned this property for 6 years). We're not sure if we should start again. These are pets to us, we just use the eggs and try to let the girls die a natural death (i.e., not eaten by anything.)

Before we bring more chickens in, we will make sure the coop is secure and lit so we can see if any one is hiding when we close them in at night.

Thanks for listening.

Mary G said...

Our back yard is very large (maybe 1/2 acre), fenced with 4' chain-link. We have two poodles (18lbs & 26lbs) who "patrol" the property regularly. During our first year here (4 years ago) we had an obnoxious little dog (not neutered) next door who constantly dug under our fence to attempt to mate with our dogs (both neutered males - did I mention that this dog was really stupid?)

We are "blessed" with a more than ample supply of largish rocks, and positioned dozens of them along our fence lines, filling in places where the dog had dug under. We no longer have problems. Our dogs seem to deter all other predators as well. We've never had trouble with possums, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and rarely deer or rabbits (which is good for our veggie garden too).

Only this past spring did we have a bit of problem with new dogs in the neighborhood trying to dig under the fence in one corner, and ONLY when we had the hens confined in a smaller than usual area - the 12 x 50 vegetable garden.

Moral of the story seems to be that having hens in a larger area gives them more space to gain freedom in case of an attack, AND having guard dogs in the yard (yes, poodles count for this, if they know the hens are part of their "pack"), and keep lots of rocks around to block any attempts at intruding under fences.

Good luck to all!


david said...

a small BB gun also works for small animals like dogs if you do not want to kill, Sorry Jason about your loss, we lost one of ours by a hawk, God Bless