Dog attacks on backyard chickens

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small flock of chickensBackyard chickens are great but there can be a down side. In my last post I wrote about coming home from a walk one day and finding that there had been a dog attack on my hens. Six of my hens had been attacked and killed by a neighbour’s dog. You can read about what happened here.

On the day it happened, the dog’s owner, a woman, I’ll call Jane, agreed to reimburse us for the hens. She said she would call down later that week. She didn’t, so I called to her house and dropped in a note with my telephone number.


She rang me a few hours later and began to tell me that maybe it wasn’t her dog that attacked my hens. I reminded her that I had found her dog, a Jack Russell, in my garden, with my dead hens and that I had followed it across the road, into her drive way and up to her door where I met her son who identified and confirmed the dog as belonging to his mother.

Jane then suggested that it might have been her neighbours’ dog I had followed into her garden so I again reminded her that her own son had identified the dog as hers. She continued arguing for a while and then gave in and said she would reimburse me.


white hens emerging from a hen houseA few days later there was still no money forthcoming so I texted her a reminder. She replied with a text asking me to supply a receipt for the original hens. I told her I didn’t have to send her anything because she had seen the dead hens herself and she could check the price at the free range hen farm we bought them from. I also said she had the option of buying six hens herself and delivering them to me.


I must say I was really shocked by her attitude. I had been very reasonable with her about the whole thing. A local farmer would just have shot the dog. As a dog lover this was not something I would do. I simply wanted Jane to keep control of her dog; to make sure it never got over the road to our garden, and to reimburse us for the cost of the hens.

However, Jane didn’t think this was reasonable because an hour later she was at my door with her grown up daughter. She brought up the same arguments as before and I pointed out that she had agreed to reimburse me and had no problems with that until she learned the actual price. (Hens in Galway are 15 euro each.)

She then argued that I should keep my hens inside the coup so that she could let her dog out – that it wasn’t fair that she had to keep her dog in.


I couldn’t believe my ears. Six of my hens were killed by her dog and this woman expected me to keep my hens couped up so her dog could retain its freedom to roam free wherever it wanted.

I pointed out that my hens had not crossed the main road, trespassed into her garden and killed her dog – that it had been the other way around, but she accused me of being unreasonable because ‘she had lived here a long time.’

She had obviously picked up on my ‘foreign/Liverpool’ accent and for some reason seemed to think that excluded me from any sense of fairness.

She then suggested that I do a rota with her – to keep my hens couped up at certain times so her dog could stay free. I made her aware that the law states that a dog owner is responsible for their dog at all times and that dogs must be under control.

Anyway, I won’t go on – but you have got the gist of it. Her attitude has made an unpleasant business even more so.


I have been in contact with the police who told me they rang Jane and informed her the dog should be muzzled outdoors.  I thought that would get through to her but apparently not, as her dog has been seen outside, unmuzzled by another neighbour.

I am still a dog lover – but it was awful to see the carnage left by a dog attack and even more awful to deal with this dog’s owner.


It is sad but I am now beginning to understand exactly why farmers here shoot the dogs they find killing their lambs – they cannot trust the dog owners to keep the dog in.

The even sadder thing is that every time I go out I am afraid that Jane’s dog will return and kill the rest of my hens.  After all he’s got the taste for it now.

CLICK HERE for more about Hens, Ducks and all things Fowl.








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