You have to keep us updated on your adventure! Great material for a memoire for sure!
I was feeling this way for a bit after a predator ate most of our flock a few weeks ago. But, there must be something of the eternal optimist in those of us who raise flocks, because we just keep going with a new flock. My babies are doing well now, so that's comforting. Good luck-I hope you keep going.
Mara, mama to two boys born 05/2009 and 04/2011, after four miscarriages.
Who knew runts could be so useful?? I guess they are more inclined to adapt... what lucky chicks!
As far as the fighting each other goes, have you tried separating them in the inside coop with some wire mesh so they can see/smell each other but not fight? We had a kind of prejudice problem where the brown layers would pick the white ones bloody (but for some reason the Sussexes never seem to get involved with any fights). Fortunately, there were no fatalities. Anyway, my husband rigged up a divider and we kept them in two days, then slowly moved the divider. The whites are still bottom of the pecking order but not pecked at.
Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!
I wouldn't keep a dog that continued to kill my chickens like that, but that's me. A few days ago I found one of my dogs with one of my chickens pinned down and she had her mouth around the chickens neck, shaking it. She is on very thin ice right now. Our chickens feed our family...the dogs don't.
Are you sure they are fighting and that a predator isn't getting to them at night? You said that seven of them were missing. Fighting wouldn't cause them to just disappear like that. Some amount of fighting is normal, though. They have to determine their pecking order and sometimes, depending on the temperament of the breed, they can be a bit more brutal than others. If you have an aggressive and territorial breed, that could be the problem.
I have three sets of chickens, each different ages. Each time I get a new group of chickens, I keep them in a brooder in my husband's shop at night. During the day they get put in a chicken tractor with see through sides (my oldest ones free range). The older chickens can all get used to them but not actually get at them. Once the youngest ones are at least 75% the size of the older ones, I let them all out together. The younger ones may get chased or pecked at a few times, but they are just establishing their pecking order. I have never had any fighting.
Kara - Homeschooling mom to Greyson (13), three lazy cats, two hyper dogs, and 11 crazy chickens. Loving our life on 5 acres in the middle of nowhere. TTC #2 for over 12 years. Soon to be a stand-in mom for foster babies!
the origional post is now 2years old and I still have chickens, though not one is from that flock. I have 28 right now, 14 from last year and 14 from this year. Last spring I left dh in charge for a week while I was gone and all of adults were killed when he didnt check that the door was latched and the dog ( yep the same dog) got them again as well as the ones thatnran were likely eaten by something else (coyote, fox, coon, what ever). I know that there are lots of people who wont keep a dog that kill their chickens, but he is a very good dog, great with the kids, and alerts us to strange things, and he is excellent at keeping EVERYTHING out of the yard that would eat my garden. We have almost no deer gophers, squirls, birks(duh) geting near my large gardens. So we make sure he cant get into the penand watch that they dont get out. last week my rooster snuck out on me (ok, so I didnt jump to stop him like I would have with a hen) and ran out of the barn. Jaka chased him and when I hollered at him to stop he did and roo ran, so I sent Jaka after him again and when roo was pined, I took him away frome the dog and tossed him back in the coop again. He hasnt come near the door since. I thing we had some rodent eating them 2 years ago, but I never did figure out how it got in and out with a chicken. we never saw a sign of the missing chickens again. And so it goes. Jaka seems to have removed what ever that was since I havent had any disapear like that again.
i know I have had runins with a fox,a cayote,a coon and a rat and a cat and a dog.They are very clever animals.I finally found somthing that sends them on there way,makes them think twice about ever coming back.I have horses in a fenced in pasture.I ran a stand of wire off their electric fencer about a foot out from the chicken coop and pen,3 inches off the ground.One good zap from that and they remember that forever.