This has been a tough couple of days for my flock. Yesterday morning, a neighbor’s dog who is generally chained up slipped his chain and caused enough damage to the chicken tractor where the culls were for them to escape after which he caught and killed two of them. This necessitated a change of day’s plan and eldest son and I went to work to make the coop pen more secure, start the work to make a more secure cull/meat bird pen with the chicken tractor inside of it, and to start planting posts to run the electric fence not just around the garden, but also around the two chicken pens.
Today was the day we had planned to kill and clean the cull birds, now down from 8 to the 6 we did get in the freezer. They were the original chickens I bought last year before I settled on the Buff Orpingtons and I called them my U.N. flock as there were 6 different breeds represented. We put 18.75 lbs of chicken away today.
After clean up and dinner, we decided to go into town for ice cream and while we were gone, the same dog again got loose and got one of my young Buff Orpingtons. This is now a problem as the dog has discovered he likes chicken and they are easy to catch. I don’t see any damage to the pen, so he can either jump a 4 foot fence or one of the young buffs got out and he caught it on the outside. We hadn’t finished setting the posts for the electric fence yet, so that barrier wasn’t there to deter the dog. The dog’s young owner is upset that his dog has killed 3 chickens in 2 day and I am perturbed about it but only to the extent that the dog isn’t secured well enough to not wander down the country road to our farm and get the chickens. I had thought about some free range time, but can’t do that with the dog in the area.
I don’t know what to do now. Son and I will see if we can figure out whether the dog can get in the pen and I guess I will have to cover more of the top with netting to try to keep the young buffs from flying over the top until they get too heavy to escape.
In our freezer camp event today, we also killed my rooster as he had gotten too aggressive with us and with the hens. This also presents a dilemma as I wanted a self sustaining flock and though the hens lay eggs without a rooster, they obviously won’t hatch, so I will either have to buy another rooster and hope that he is less aggressive or buy fertilized eggs when a hen gets broody to let her sit to hatch. I don’t want to have to keep buying chicks every few years and raise them in the brooder. We already have to deal with the brooder for the meat birds once or twice a year.
We currently have only two mature birds to provide us with eggs. Hopefully the 17 and 19 week old pullets will start laying soon, assuming I can keep Brown Dog out of their territory.