The Rest of the Story...

My chickens are currently safe in their coop/run drying off after a morning of roaming our yard and playing in the rain. So, with chicken chores done for the day, I wanted to finish the story of our original 19 chickens and how we came to have only seven.

You already know about the hawk attacks on two. Our flock leader died of unknown causes. The other nine died of an attack by stray dogs. In one way, we were lucky that day. My kids were not in our yard when this happened and neither was our dog. Unfortunately, our flock was busy scratching and pecking throughout the yard. My husband came home and said there was a chicken dead on the drive and I went out to investigate only to find many more bodies strewn everywhere. And, I saw a dog running down our driveway with a chicken in its mouth. We immediately rounded up the remaining chickens and put them in their coop. We treated two chickens who suffered cuts and eventually had to put down one chicken who was unable to use her legs. 

Our Original Flock

I know this all seems horrific and not very fun. But I think its important that backyard chicken owners are aware of the dangers posed by roaming dogs. When we talked with the people at our local feed supply store, they said these types of attacks are common and probably one of the leading causes of chicken deaths. Natural predators like hawks and foxes will often take one or two chickens and leave behind little evidence. But, dogs kill more for the sport leaving carnage in their wake.

Our backyard is fenced and to this day, I'm still not sure how the dogs got through, but once they did, the results were devastating. Since many of us live in neighborhoods, roaming dogs can be one of the biggest threats we face. So, if you've got a flock of backyard chickens, check those fences and always be on the lookout.
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