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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:15 pm
by eae
Yesterday at bed time we had 14 chickens, now we have 2... one of whom is injured.

I went out at 7:30 this morning to throw some left over breakfast to them, and no one was to be seen. Then I saw a pile of feathers, then another, then the tree stump that is their step into the coop was knocked over. I went over to the coop and more and more feathers. I've been up and down the road, talked to neighbours, looking for anyone. I found our rooster about 100m down the road hiding under a bush. I shepherded him back to our place, he's missing most of his tail, some underfeathers are poking out and he's limping and occasionally falling a little on his right leg. There is no way I can catch him when he's not in bed, so hopefully he'll be ok until tonight. When I got back with him, our Australorp was hanging around, missing a bunch of tail feathers. I found several patches of blood and more feathers on the road (about 60m from the coop), and a patch of feathers with skin still attached outside the coop. The agapanthus outside the coop is smashed some. It seems to me like perhaps a dog, although while there are a few dogs in our road, they're working farm dogs and are properly locked up at night. Anyone else have other ideas? So far I've seen feathers from all our birds :(

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:09 pm
by Marina
Oh no - what a tragedy! So sorry to hear this.

Did you not hear a commotion at night? It can only have been a dog from what you decsribe. That's absolutely devastating!

We have had dog attacks, too - they are vicious and the chooks do try to hide. After the last dog attack we had (March 2012) some of our chooks came back up to a week after the attack - feathers missing and very very hungry. Feathers everywhere, always tail feathers missing. Just terrible.

I hope a few more of yours will come back and it will be worth checking the surrounding paddocks as they may not be able to get back through fences.

Dogs can travel many kilometres in one night and probbaly the only thing you can do is lodge a complaint with animal control :cry:

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:21 pm
by seatil
So sorry to hear :( It maddens me to hear that (probably) a dog has had the opportunity to do this.

Sounds most likely a dog attack to me. In the second attack at our place we had feathers all over the place. I was expecting dead bodies, but eventually found live chooks - I guess what I'm saying is hope for the best (while at the same time being prepared for the worst). That time we found a chook over 800m from where the attack took place, though the vast majority were within 100m or so.

At this point I suspect they'll be in hiding and reluctant and/or unable to come out until they've recovered from the shock - I've seen one chook take 2 days to be able to stand up afterwards. I can't suggest anything other than searching under bushes, anywhere they might be hiding, and try to get people to help you out. With any luck any survivors you haven't yet found will gravitate back towards their coop tonight or tomorrow night, so keep an eye out for them then and try to keep up their normal routine.

As and when you do get them back, please check them really really thoroughly for signs of puncture wounds and treat them. In our chooks these were on the necks and back, but could be anywhere.

Your rooster - if he's bearing weight on the leg and able to use it reasonably well and no obvious sign of broken skin/bones/tendons there's a good chance it'll fix up OK given time. Don't forget to check him for other injuries as well!

Good luck, and I hope you find your chooks alive and as well as can be.

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:21 pm
by eae
Thank you both. I too hope they are hunkered down somewhere, waiting for it to be safe enough to come out. Although I managed to get the rooster back to our property, be promptly hopped under the fence and into some bush next door and has flatly refused to come out. Our guinea fowl have gone down to see him, so hopefully he knows that he's home and is just choosing to wait for a while to come out.

Marina -- we didn't hear anything. The coop is only about 30m from our bedroom, on the same level with nothing to speak of in the way so I would have expected we'd hear something. All I can think is that as it was colder last night, we had the window shut - but the fire had overheated the house so we had fan on too. Perhaps the closed window and the white noise of the fan was enough to block it from being loud enough to wake us. I would have thought it would have been very loud out there with all that going on. Frustratingly I wake to a child turning on a light switch at the other end of the house and a cat quietly tapping the front door to be let out.. but not this when they really needed help :(

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:32 pm
by sewren
Oh no - that is worst nightmare stuff - makes me feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it :( :( I really hope that more of your chooks do emerge over the next few days. Keep some blue spray on hand for wounds!!

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:49 pm
by nhb
This is terrible what a terrible thing to happen. Can or do you lock your chooks away at night, I do 99% of the time as this is my main concern and fear with having chooks. I would if I could because from a dog's perspective they have had a pretty successful evening and given half a chance they will probably return. My experience with dog's worrying stock they keep going until someone puts a end to it. I say they because it's usually more than one animal involved. Good luck with your terrible problem.

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:00 pm
by eae
Yes, we will be locking any remainders up for the forseeable future. We are concerned about a repeat performance as whatever it was had such a good time last night. We have never really contained our birds at all and have known there was risk associated with that. We had hoped that by not being stuck in a run, if anything got to them they'd be able to scatter and perhaps limit losses. Seems that perhaps that logic was flawed. I suppose it was just too dark and they couldn't see enough to even scatter.

Does anyone know the legalities around shooting a dog if it is caught in the act?

ETA: Found the answer:

57 Dogs attacking persons or animals
(1) A person may, for the purpose of stopping an attack, seize or destroy a dog if—
(a) the person is attacked by the dog; or
(b) the person witnesses the dog attacking any other person, or any stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife.

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:15 pm
by tishie11
Very sorry to hear eae. I would be devastated if it happened to mine. I just hope they weren't left half alive somewhere.
Crossing fingers some will return to you.

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:38 pm
by eae
Yes, Tishie, that is what is upsetting me most too. I was mostly ok until I found the pile of RIR feathers attached to a chunk of skin :( That can't have felt good, and if that bird isn't dead then she's in a lot of pain.

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:49 pm
by wolga
OMG ! That's so awful. What a shock ! I can't even imagine. I'm so sorry to hear this.
I'm amazed that there are no dead or half eaten chickens to be found. One dog can not
remove 12 chickens from your property without a trace. A dog would eat one or two and
kill the rest. But you would be able to find them. Maybe something/somebody else is to blame ?

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:06 pm
by eae
I know what you mean, Wolga. I fully expected to find bodies somewhere, but no.. still nothing. Our rooster has found somewhere to hide for the night, he's gone from the corner of bush he was hiding in. The australorp went into the coop all by herself :/ I've locked her in in case whatever it is comes back tonight.

I suppose it could be any number of things (possum? stoat?), but with most of them I would have expected to find bodies. I can't imagine a person would have done this, but I've been wrong about people before. There were what looked like small sliding fight marks in the soft ground outside the coop.. which was one of the things that leaned me toward dog. There are piles of feathers in several places near the coop and around the drive, then in stages all the way down the drive and along the road about 100m, along with fairly big dribbles of blood.. but then the trail stops.

I hope that somehow, some of them are just in hiding and that is why bodies aren't visible, but they must be hiding very well :shock: Given the number of feathers, I don't expect to see our SLW, bantam wyandotte hen, one or both BPRs and at least 1 RIR.

Its really hard not knowing :(

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:30 pm
by wolga
I hate to say it eae. But I think somebody raided your henhouse and stole your hens. :evil:

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:39 am
by tishie11
Yes I think that too - there might have been a car where the trail ended. Horrible people........

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:49 am
by Marina
I don't think it was a human.

Firstly - a human would have blocked the entrance to the coop so the chooks can't escape and secondly a human would use his/her hands to catch them, not their mouth. If you found a piece of skin with feathers attached that's typically dog. And they would have gotten all of the chooks.

When chooks see a dog they get very upset and run away unless, of course, they are used to dogs. If they see a human, even if it is someone they don't know, they usually remain still.

People who have lost chooks to humans didn't see any feathers - no trace - just chooks missing. Maybe tyre tracks, and those thefts all happened during the day when the owners were at work.

I hope a few of your chooks are just hiding out and will come back.

Re: Sad

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:30 pm
by eae
My husband and I talked at length last night, trying to figure out if there was a way the location and spread of the feathers could somehow indicate human involvement, and we just couldn't. Someone would also need to be extremely bold to come a long way up our steep driveway, close to the house, to nab chickens. Blood and feathers down the road also don't quite add up, People can be strange, but I'm not sure I can rationalise that one.

The good news is that my son shephered Harry back onto our property today, he's clearly not himself, sticking to under bushes and only crowing a couple of times all day. About 4:30 this afternoon a barred rock showed up :) So now there at least 3 of them in the coop. I had to work today, so my husband took the day off and spent much of it combing the neighbouring properties, looking under and in things.

Since it is now dark, we just were able to get the barred rock and have a look at her. She has had a large amount of feathers pulled out of her back between her wings, and there are a couple of chunks of skin missing from up there and from under one of her wings. Her right wing feathers are also quite crumpled and bent and stuck together. I think this is looking more like dog as the wing looked like it had been bitten and slobbered on.

I've given her a liberal covering of purple spray and I think she'll be ok, just very scared and probably quite sore. Hopefully some of the others are out there still too.