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Please advise me, our lab has killed a chicken :(

(25 Posts)
cathyandclaire Tue 11-Feb-14 23:24:24

I know this is my fault, I left our door ajar (it's swollen in the rain and doesn't close properly) and our 1 yr Labrador got out and killed one of our neighbour's daughter's pet chickens, they were roaming in their garden.
He seems a gentle, biddable boy and has never run off, or shown any behaviour like this before. He's never even growled or snapped.
I feel just terrible, I've written a letter apologising to the girl obviously offered to buy another chicken ( although I know this can't replace the one she's lost) and contacted a trainer to advise me about my pup. Is there anything else I can do, other than never let him out of my sight?

tabulahrasa Tue 11-Feb-14 23:37:45

Don't panic about it.

While it's not great for your relations with your neighbours, it means nothing about his temperament other than that dogs like chasing things and chickens are pretty easy to catch and kill...lots of dogs would catch chickens if they got the chance, it doesn't mean he's about to bite anything else. (well maybe something else chicken like)

Make sure he can't get out and keep him away from chickens should do it. Maybe a better fence?

cathyandclaire Tue 11-Feb-14 23:40:24

Thanks smile
I think a proper fence is definitely needed, we live in a house with a long rambling border and there's huge escape potential.

HansieMom Tue 11-Feb-14 23:44:08

We had a dog named Sophie, part shepherd. Absolutely lovely dog. I often think she would have made a good therapy dog.

We lived in country, big lots. One day she came prancing up with a dead chicken! We buried it.

The neighbors who owned the chickens, two lots away, liked Sophie. They told our in between neighbor that they liked having Sophie around, thought she protected the chickens.

She would also bring us the occasional shoe or flip flop. She liked to get around.

Terrortree Tue 11-Feb-14 23:52:01

My neighbour beat his dog daily for killing his chickens. Was my cat - he buried them under my bed.

I have confessed (finally).

I am a farmer (now, not then) but the onus is on both you and your neighbour to protect the animals. Dogs and chickens (and lambs) are a known problem. Do your utmost to dog proof your fence or don't let him out unleashed in your backyard.

In the interim, all you can do is offer 'lessons learnt' but please don't use that phrase because that is what politicians say. Say what you are doing instead!

hmc Tue 11-Feb-14 23:57:25

Doesn't mean its a 'bad' dog. My Bernese Mountain Dog was an incredibly gentle loving dog - as long as you were human. Her herding instinct meant that she separated our cockerel's head from his body when she got the opportunity and she went after some piglets once (they are allowed to graze out on common land in the New Forest). Instinct for some dogs.

hmc Tue 11-Feb-14 23:58:30

Terrortree - that's a bit crap. How in the hell did you stand by and allow that dog to get a beating?!?

cathyandclaire Tue 11-Feb-14 23:59:48

Clearly my boy isn't as good as some of your pets at covering his tracks!

Thanks that's good advice, the neighbour's daughter is very interested in animals and maybe showing what we are actively doing to prevent the problem will help build bridges.

So fencing for sure and also he hates being even gently scolded, so maybe scolding if he moves towards chickens ( while safely on a lead) will help him learn?

hmc Wed 12-Feb-14 00:03:00

Definitely a better fence required. He needs to be able to enjoy the freedom of his own back garden without representing a threat to the chickens next door

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 12-Feb-14 00:04:54

When my dog was young we took him to a chicken farm as part of his gun dog training. Took him, on the lead obviously, inside one of the broiler houses. Full of about a thousand chickens. He just sat there looking scared. He doesn't take any notice of live birds now.

You need to know someone with a chicken farm though. grin

tabulahrasa Wed 12-Feb-14 00:05:56

Ah you can teach him to leave chickens all you want, but if he enjoyed it, he'll only not chase them while you're there tbh. (in my opinion anyway)

You don't really want him being able to get out of your garden anyway, for loads of reasons.

Terrortree Wed 12-Feb-14 00:09:47

HMC - I was a child. I 'let' the adults deal with it.

Rather the dog than me.

I am now an adult. Life moves on.

hmc Wed 12-Feb-14 00:11:08

Ah, that's fair enough. You're off the hook then wink

Terrortree Wed 12-Feb-14 00:13:07

Wasn't fair then, it's not fair now. Hence my advice on this thread for the adults to deal with it. Can't wink bank on this issue.

hmc Wed 12-Feb-14 07:01:12

Ok (ponders)....would you prefer an "up yours"?

Cakesnbeer Wed 12-Feb-14 09:20:57

I trained mine not to bother our chooks,after a few near misses they got so good that the hens bullied them for food! It is normal though unfortunate...fencing has to be a good idea.

Owllady Wed 12-Feb-14 09:25:23

One of my neighbours dogs took one of my chickens, though it survived and turned up looked mauled later in the day and died about a week later. I am a bit meh about it tbh. Obviously it upset me as I like my chickens, but some dogs think they are playthings, or some just kill because it's instinct as they are small, feathery and moving about.

My dog is a bit of a nightmare with ours too. I think she would kill them if she got the chance

MrsBodger Wed 12-Feb-14 09:41:23

Our sort-of-lab got into next door neighbour's garden and killed one of theirs, in front of one of their children, so I understand how terrible you feel!

I did some research on the internet about ways of training him, but the methods ranged from the obviously hopeless to the disgusting (tie the dead chicken in a sack and hang it round the dog's neck until it starts to decay . . . seriously . . .)

So we just tightened security. And within a few months all the other chickens got taken by foxes anyway, so I felt a bit less guilty.

But it helped me to realise that my very limited abilities as a dog trainer were no match for thousands of years of evolution, so I am very careful now with him in any situation where the hunting/fighting/postman biting instinct might kick in.

And, touch wood, no more problems.

Owllady Wed 12-Feb-14 09:49:31

Yes security is the answer, I feel that too.

Goldencity1 Wed 12-Feb-14 09:50:01

Several of my goldies have been confirmed chicken chasers. Vigilance, fences and leads are the way to go! Labs and retrievers are bred for hunting and most find small feathery or furry creatures fascinating, doesn't mean they are bad dogs.
You can train some of them not to, but I still wouldn't trust one on its own with a random bird.
Oldiegoldie caught and killed one of my neighbour's free range chickens when it "freeranged" into our garden....our fence was dog proof, but not chicken proof. She has never forgotten the sheer joy of this and will chase anything with feathers, although too slow to catch one now.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 12-Feb-14 12:48:35

Too slow to catch one. grin

Yeah, I think my boy would have trouble now.

Goldencity1 Wed 12-Feb-14 23:39:44

She is absolutely convinced, despite a total lack of evidence, that she can catch squirrels. If only she could work out how they disappear only to reappear up a tree.....she stands there staring at the base of the tree barking and trying to work out where it went, while the squirrel laughs it's tail off from the branches.

lifeinthefastlane1 Sat 15-Feb-14 09:08:49

hes just doing what dogs do, I wouldnt worry about the behaviour, my little sheltie once grabbed and killed a mouse that the cat fetched in , I was shocked, although one time he caught a baby rabbit on the field and didnt know what to do with it so let it go.
the worst thing about your incident is having to face the neightbours blush

lifeinthefastlane1 Sat 15-Feb-14 09:09:05

neighbours even

ThePost Sat 15-Feb-14 15:21:21

Secure fencing is the way to go. Labs and many other dog have a strong prey drive when it comes to birds. Our completely soft lab girl has managed to kill 3 magpies in the last year. God knows how, she's not exactly quiet and you would think they'd fly away.

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