My horse is killing the yard chickens

I'm Dun

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Clipping wont stop them getting over a normal height fence I dont think. Mine will happily hop over things that height. The chicken electric fencing is worse than useless as well. Can you attach the chicken wire fencing to her permiter fencing then as a line of electric on the top about 3 to 4 inches above the top rail? That way if they do jump they will get a zap and likely wont try again. The mesh fencing wont stand up to chickens. I have it and they just push through at the bottom and make their own way in. It cost me a couple of hundred quid to do an acre with it as well I think!
 

exracehorse

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Clipping wont stop them getting over a normal height fence I dont think. Mine will happily hop over things that height. The chicken electric fencing is worse than useless as well. Can you attach the chicken wire fencing to her permiter fencing then as a line of electric on the top about 3 to 4 inches above the top rail? That way if they do jump they will get a zap and likely wont try again. The mesh fencing wont stand up to chickens. I have it and they just push through at the bottom and make their own way in. It cost me a couple of hundred quid to do an acre with it as well I think!
Oh god. Her field is mixture wooden post and rails. Natural hedging that they go through to get go the orchard behind and electric plastic posts and tape
 

Labaire

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If you can get hold of some of that orange road works type plastic fencing and cable tie it to your fence that should not cost much. Then clip the chickens wings that might work for minimal cost.
yes this would work, use it myself in nursery pens with hurdles-I tie it on with bits of baler twine or reuseable cable ties.
 

PurBee

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Hay is on a hay box. I’ve never seen them in the hay. They roam from
Field to field. I never bought the chickens and cocks. They have always been there. I try my best and feed them. If I didn’t feed them then no one would. It costs me a fortune in chicken feed. I did take in three ex batteries beginning yesr as the rescue centre had 8,000 to find homes. It’s past 3 months she has been vile towards ‘them’ And I repeat ‘she’s not a vile horse’. Don’t know why I was told that I obviously hated my hirse. Three ex batteries are fine. Dolly recovered and stays away now. The other two she stamped were the feral ones. All the yard ones are feral. You can’t get near them. I shut them up at night but that’s as close as I can get. It’s hard trying to work out how to stop them going in her acre field when I don’t have much money as I work as a cleaner. And they will fly over too. Maybe it’s her hormones. I can discuss with vet. She’s quite marish at times. Always in season. I did post about that. Apparently that’s normal. Especially at a young age. She’s started a supplement. Or she just hates them full stop. The yard cats snooze in her fields. And she ignores. She’s seen dogs when out riding. And ignores. Absolutely fine with humans. Other horses. Wouldn’t trust her with a dog in her field though. She’s very territorial it seems. Even when tied up .. if they come to near then she kicks out. Hence Dolly hurt her leg. Now I watch her like a hawk tied up. I felt terrible when it happened. I splintered her leg and looked after her for 6 weeks. So I do really care about all animals. I am shocked that some of the comments have been to sell her. Rehome 50 feral hens that are not even mine. And that I have no compassion to the chickens. I really do. It’s a working farm. And units are let out to others. All I can do is investigate a form of stopping them getting in her field.
To stop them getting into her field would be around 250 pounds sterling for polypropylene black plastic tensile fencing with square holes that are around 2 inches. Its really lightweight stuff - even lighter than the builders orange plastic fencing mentioned.
You’ll need about 2 rolls of 1m x 100m fencing. If you have post and rail permanent fence its easy to pin to the outside. Its lightweight enough to even hook onto electric fencing posts but youll need some short wooden firm posts here and there to provide strength so the electric posts dont bend too much.

Or you build them a 1/3 acre run with the same fencing material i mention, just 1 roll - they do 1.8m tall rolls too that are 150 each roughly uk suppliers. (Ill searchfor link and post if interested)

I had around 40 hens, ducks and geese on 1/3rd acre by a river when young and they thrived, nested, bred etc…all healthy birds. They didnt fly too high, and 1.8m should enclose them - 6 foot..
Do you think theyd fly the 1m tall fence around your mare’s paddock? If they have so much other ground available to peck at i personally cant see why theyd make a special attempt to fly into her paddock.

The only other solution is sound frequency/sonar devices - youd have to research them a bit - as specific frequencies deter specific animals. Is there ones for deterring chickens but dont adversely affect horses? You could place the device on a post of your mares paddock - depending on reach of signal maybe youd need more than 1 device either side of her paddock.
I really dont know if this is a viable option for your situation but there could be devices that shoo birds away but dont affect larger mammals like horses.
These devices are usual 10-20 pounds each…much cheaper than fencing IF, a big IF, they work for your situation.

The other option regarding erecting a large 1/3 acre run for the chickens - maybe financially the land owner would chip in some of the cost? You could ask as afterall youre paying rent and if the chickens HAVE to stay on that land and theyre disturbing any of the animals the owner rents the land for - there has to be some compromise and solution brought about also by the landowner to the problematic situation. It shouldnt just be on your shoulders to solve this. If the land owner had jack russell guard dogs on the yard and insisted they were kept on the yard but they were a problem for some of the horses, many on here would be in sympathy with you.
My gelding would also chase chickens if they were in his field - possibly stomp them, i dont know but he’d surely chase them and probably maul them - he was gelded at 6months, and is respectful to humans completely, but smaller animals than him, he loves to investigate them, and if they run, he’ll turn from prey to predator. The animal instincts just kick in.
If smaller animals stop and let him sniff them he’s fine, curious - just wants to sniff. But they normally run because theyre daunted by his size. But if they run, he’ll chase.
Tiny birds peck at the grass seed at his legs as he’s eating hay in winter - they dont run, he doesnt chase them. So its not aggression with him to get everything out of his space. Once there’s running and chasing going on, the gelding will play that game...and due to his size/weight it wouldnt end well for the smaller running creature,probably.

I’d tell the landowner about the problem and also ask them for suggestions - with having a build a cheap run suggestion as an idea - and both parties pitch in financially. Although really, as a landowner myself, if i want to make money from renting my land and yard, collect rent, and i want to leave my flock of hens to also free roam the entire rental area, and found out the rentee was having troubles between their animals and my birds, i’d feel responsible to think of a solution, and more than likely fence the birds in, or re-home the birds.
As other posters have stated, they know/have horses who would react the same to chickens in their field, so its not highly unusual behaviour - you’re lucky its just 1 horse out of 5 reacting. Either way, the landowner wants money for your use of their property so also have a responsibility that nothing impedes your agreed use of the facilities.
They are responsible for the birds ultimately. You’re already doing extra trips to look after them so the fox doesnt get them and spending out on bird feed.
It may not have been a problem in the past, but now is - so thats why a discussion with land owner is warranted.
 

Pearlsasinger

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my friends arab gelding would kill anything in his field, pheasants, rabbits, rats and im sure he would have killed a dog if they had got in with him, yet he was lovely with the other horses and a sweetie to handle

We used to have a cob gelding that killed rats in his stable if he got the chance - we found pressed rats on more than one occasion and I knew a hunter gelding that killed a litter of kittens in his stable when the mother cat took them in there. Horses often don't like small things around their feet. I have always assumed becasue rats will chew anyting that stays still for any length of time.
 

Kat

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Could you also have words with the landowner about removing any cockerels so the problem doesn't continue to grow.

It isn't really responsible to let them continue to breed indiscriminately, especially not when you are having to shoulder the cost and responsibilities.
 
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exracehorse

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Could you also have words with the landowner about removing any cockerels so the problem doesn't continue to grow.

It isn't really responsible to let them continue to breed indiscriminately, especially not when you are having to shoulder the cost and responsibilities.
only have bumble now as the one young was hurt. Bumble is quite old. But still manages to do the deed. If we have any broody hens then we take away the eggs. But sometimes .. like three months ago …. Mummy hen arrived with 14 babies. She’d hatched then in secret.
 

exracehorse

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We used to have a cob gelding that killed rats in his stable if he got the chance - we found pressed rats on more than one occasion and I knew a hunter gelding that killed a litter of kittens in his stable when the mother cat took them in there. Horses often don't like small things around their feet. I have always assumed becasue rats will chew anyting that stays still for any length of time.
poor kittens.
 

Peglo

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. Thank you. 9 years. And never a fatality. Usually fox related. It’s difficult as they don’t belong to me although I feed them. And shut them up. Why do they navigate towards the only horse on the yard who hates them !? The ONLY option is to try to and sort a fencing out around her field. But they will fly over it. And it’s got to be electrified. And I’ve still got to her in and out. And he’s an acre in size.
My hens would toodle into the veggie patch when there was space in the gate to get through. We patched up the gate to try and deter them and although they could fly over the top as it’s not that high, they never bothered going back in. Your yards hens might be the same if it was more difficult to get in they might just go elsewhere since they have plenty of other options. So doesn’t necessarily need high fancy electric fencing
 

Charley657

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I feel awful for laughing at this title, I thought it had to be some kind of joke but it must be horrific finding the chickens she has killed in her field. Could you have electric fencing at chicken height around her field, that or restrict the chickens to one of the fields.
 

MagicMelon

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Definately keep your horse away from them. Its only an acre, surely you can put up chicken proof fencing or electric it somehow low down, I bet theyd only need a couple little zaps and they'd go elsewhere. Surely as the chickens dont belong to you, you need to keep your horse away from them if they're harming them.

I dont understand why you're dealing with the chickens though, when they're someone elses?
 

exracehorse

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To stop them getting into her field would be around 250 pounds sterling for polypropylene black plastic tensile fencing with square holes that are around 2 inches. Its really lightweight stuff - even lighter than the builders orange plastic fencing mentioned.
You’ll need about 2 rolls of 1m x 100m fencing. If you have post and rail permanent fence its easy to pin to the outside. Its lightweight enough to even hook onto electric fencing posts but youll need some short wooden firm posts here and there to provide strength so the electric posts dont bend too much.

Or you build them a 1/3 acre run with the same fencing material i mention, just 1 roll - they do 1.8m tall rolls too that are 150 each roughly uk suppliers. (Ill searchfor link and post if interested)

I had around 40 hens, ducks and geese on 1/3rd acre by a river when young and they thrived, nested, bred etc…all healthy birds. They didnt fly too high, and 1.8m should enclose them - 6 foot..
Do you think theyd fly the 1m tall fence around your mare’s paddock? If they have so much other ground available to peck at i personally cant see why theyd make a special attempt to fly into her paddock.

The only other solution is sound frequency/sonar devices - youd have to research them a bit - as specific frequencies deter specific animals. Is there ones for deterring chickens but dont adversely affect horses? You could place the device on a post of your mares paddock - depending on reach of signal maybe youd need more than 1 device either side of her paddock.
I really dont know if this is a viable option for your situation but there could be devices that shoo birds away but dont affect larger mammals like horses.
These devices are usual 10-20 pounds each…much cheaper than fencing IF, a big IF, they work for your situation.

The other option regarding erecting a large 1/3 acre run for the chickens - maybe financially the land owner would chip in some of the cost? You could ask as afterall youre paying rent and if the chickens HAVE to stay on that land and theyre disturbing any of the animals the owner rents the land for - there has to be some compromise and solution brought about also by the landowner to the problematic situation. It shouldnt just be on your shoulders to solve this. If the land owner had jack russell guard dogs on the yard and insisted they were kept on the yard but they were a problem for some of the horses, many on here would be in sympathy with you.
My gelding would also chase chickens if they were in his field - possibly stomp them, i dont know but he’d surely chase them and probably maul them - he was gelded at 6months, and is respectful to humans completely, but smaller animals than him, he loves to investigate them, and if they run, he’ll turn from prey to predator. The animal instincts just kick in.
If smaller animals stop and let him sniff them he’s fine, curious - just wants to sniff. But they normally run because theyre daunted by his size. But if they run, he’ll chase.
Tiny birds peck at the grass seed at his legs as he’s eating hay in winter - they dont run, he doesnt chase them. So its not aggression with him to get everything out of his space. Once there’s running and chasing going on, the gelding will play that game...and due to his size/weight it wouldnt end well for the smaller running creature,probably.

I’d tell the landowner about the problem and also ask them for suggestions - with having a build a cheap run suggestion as an idea - and both parties pitch in financially. Although really, as a landowner myself, if i want to make money from renting my land and yard, collect rent, and i want to leave my flock of hens to also free roam the entire rental area, and found out the rentee was having troubles between their animals and my birds, i’d feel responsible to think of a solution, and more than likely fence the birds in, or re-home the birds.
As other posters have stated, they know/have horses who would react the same to chickens in their field, so its not highly unusual behaviour - you’re lucky its just 1 horse out of 5 reacting. Either way, the landowner wants money for your use of their property so also have a responsibility that nothing impedes your agreed use of the facilities.
They are responsible for the birds ultimately. You’re already doing extra trips to look after them so the fox doesnt get them and spending out on bird feed.
It may not have been a problem in the past, but now is - so thats why a discussion with land owner is warranted.
Thank you so much for your lengthy reply. Appreciate all your help. Situation with chap I rent land off .. he’s retired. Hardly see him. He rents the land to me. And I honestly wouldn’t be able to keep the equines financially in a livery yard. Not five. I seem to end up keeping old and broken ponies. If I said there’s a problem, mare has killed some chickens, and I moaned, he would say jog on. And I know he would rent that land out within 24 hours. He definitely would not contribute towards any chicken runs. A run would be very expensive. As it would need to house a big flock. Who have free ranged all their lives. And are pretty feral. Would have to be totally fox proof as we have a serious problem. So slabs around the perimeters. Wire on top. Chicken house. And then I’d have to clean it all out. And I work so hard as a cleaner. And have a house to run. Children. So another thing to do. They go into a barn type building at night but you couldn’t put a run off that. I’ll try to get a photo tomorrow. It’s got a tight entrance up and alleyway. Plus I’d be stuck with cleaning them all out etc. Some younger one could be re homed. The others are old. Don’t even lay eggs anymore. The only solution is put up a fence around her field I guess. Try and clip the wings. But I’m on my own. So not easy to do that. They are very flighty. My daughter could probably help hold them. I’ll have time tomorrow to look at fence options. But it has to be cost effective as it’s an acre. And it will
Go on my credit card. But I will have a look. And ask in the chicken forums for fencing recommendations to a large area. Thank you once again. A
 

PurBee

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Thank you so much for your lengthy reply. Appreciate all your help. Situation with chap I rent land off .. he’s retired. Hardly see him. He rents the land to me. And I honestly wouldn’t be able to keep the equines financially in a livery yard. Not five. I seem to end up keeping old and broken ponies. If I said there’s a problem, mare has killed some chickens, and I moaned, he would say jog on. And I know he would rent that land out within 24 hours. He definitely would not contribute towards any chicken runs. A run would be very expensive. As it would need to house a big flock. Who have free ranged all their lives. And are pretty feral. Would have to be totally fox proof as we have a serious problem. So slabs around the perimeters. Wire on top. Chicken house. And then I’d have to clean it all out. And I work so hard as a cleaner. And have a house to run. Children. So another thing to do. They go into a barn type building at night but you couldn’t put a run off that. I’ll try to get a photo tomorrow. It’s got a tight entrance up and alleyway. Plus I’d be stuck with cleaning them all out etc. Some younger one could be re homed. The others are old. Don’t even lay eggs anymore. The only solution is put up a fence around her field I guess. Try and clip the wings. But I’m on my own. So not easy to do that. They are very flighty. My daughter could probably help hold them. I’ll have time tomorrow to look at fence options. But it has to be cost effective as it’s an acre. And it will
Go on my credit card. But I will have a look. And ask in the chicken forums for fencing recommendations to a large area. Thank you once again. A
I did wonder whether the landlord would care or not at all, and whether it was a loose verbal contract of rental or more official.

You’re right - an enclosure would be loads more work and maintenance than fencing the 1 acre your mare occupies.
1 acre perimeter is around 64 metres. The black tensile plastic fencing i was talking about is great because its very lightweight yet very strong and you can pull it tight from post to post to prevent the birds pushing against it to get underneath it.
Depending on the distance of your existing posts in the 1 acre field, you might want to buy some plastic camping tent pegs to peg the bottom line of the fence to the ground to stop them perhaps going underneath the fence, if there’s a fair distance between posts.
Where you have electric fence you could clip it onto that but also buy some small 1.2metre 2”x2“ posts with a point cut at one end, from a diy store or farm supplies shop/timber yard - thin stakes like that size are just a couple of quid each. Lump hammer will drive them in the ground 12 inches for good enough purchase to hold the lightweight fencing. Have those posts 10-15 metres between your electric fence posts will help keep that run of fencing more stable.

Using plastic fencing means your electric fencing wont be grounded and can continue installed as you have it.

Here’s the tensile fencing:
https://truetraders.co.uk/shop/deer-netting-fencing-1-2m-1-5m-1-8m-2m-or-2-2m-high-x-100m-long.html

That website also do loads of other fencing. Its 78 pounds sterling for 100mx1m black tensile.
That fencing i use against deer - its very strong, uv protected - ive had mine up for 13yrs without it weakening from uv light….deer actually run into it and it stops their weight, its that strong - so although its really lightweight - its much stronger than it looks and you can stretch it tight to the outside of your horse fencing. The 2 inch square holes make it difficult for horse sized hooves to catch in it too. Its breaking strain is high so a 300kg+ horse weight could break it if needed, but not a 150kg deer.

Where you have hedges you can either tie the fencing to the hedges with bale twine if the hedge branches are accessible and tent peg the bottom into the ground. Use plastic ground pegs just in case any get loose for whatever reason, as metal pegs could cause injury to horses hooves.

Do look into sonar/frequency emitting devices to scare off chickens and not disturb horses. If they exist that could be a way simpler solution.

Where you feed the chickens normally - is that near to the mares paddock? So do the hens then just naturally gravitate from the feed spot and just happen to be near your mares paddock during their normal grazing routine?
If so, would it be possible to move your mare to the furthest paddock from the hen feeding/night hut? If there is a paddock you notice they dont bother going in much, could your mare go in there?

It doesnt sound as if she’s actively seeking them out to kill them otherwise you would have discovered very injured squished stomped dead birds. I suspect if theyve been close-by just pecking the ground she’s kicked them out of her personal grazing space, like a warning kick horses give, but due to their small size she’s managed to break their tiny legs or killed them outright with a warning head kick. The size/power difference between the 2 species makes the situation volatile anyway even if a horse wasn’t outright aggressive to chickens.
 

DSB

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Take Care,I have posted about this before.
Horse started chasing chickens,graduated to breaking a sheeps' leg in front of me.
None of the dogs would ever walk through his paddock.
The last straw was when he had a go at me,struck out missing my leg and leaving a hoof impression,complete with nails on my foot.
He was put down that afternoon.
 
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. Thank you. 9 years. And never a fatality. Usually fox related. It’s difficult as they don’t belong to me although I feed them. And shut them up. Why do they navigate towards the only horse on the yard who hates them !? The ONLY option is to try to and sort a fencing out around her field. But they will fly over it. And it’s got to be electrified. And I’ve still got to her in and out. And he’s an acre in size.
Once you get them into their beds at night you can do a method called 'clipping the wings' which is cutting some wing feathers to stop them being able to fly over fences. There is bound to be you tube videos on it but you'd need the owners consent I imagine.

Then fence an acre for your mare with something like electric chicken net, or rylock wire held up with plastic posts to keep the chooks seperated from your mare.
 

pistolpete

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May sound a bit mad but what about clicker training her to step away from a cuddly toy on a string. Teach her it’s in her interests to leave them. Ideally I would separate. Could some of them be regimes so you have less to deal with?
 

Miss_Millie

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Sorry if someone has already suggested this as lots of comments to read through, but if I were you I would just keep a really small number of them (say 5 or so) that you can afford to buy a decent sized run for and then round up and re-home the rest.

If they are breeding unchecked then that is a welfare issue in itself really. If they belong to the land owner and not yourself, it isn't very fair that you've been burdened with the responsibility of looking after them. I'm sure that if you put an advert up on Preloved or similar, that you'd have lots of people interesting in rehoming some of the chickens. It sounds like the land owner doesn't care about them so I'm sure he wouldn't care either way.
 

Backtoblack

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I had a shetland who killed hens and attacked small dogs. you cant stop them . sorry no advice other then selling the horse .
 

mustardsmum

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This is on offer atm from from mole valley? It’s easy to use and has electric posts. We used it against our electric fence successfully.

https://www.moleonline.com/pet-poultry/poultry/netting

if they have other options they won’t fly over usually.

Could you put it along the perimeter of your mares field where they go in? TBH I am surprised foxy hasn’t taken the lot if they are free range - so not sure why you’d need slabs on any fencing. Fox will take them in daylight from the field if they are free ranging. Do you need to feed them - maybe they are going into the field because you are out there and they think they are going to be fed? I know when my hens free range the fields, they were not interested in the chicken feed - the wild birds ate most of it!
 

Fransurrey

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Use cheap netting around the mare's paddock then clip the wing feathers of ONE wing only of each chicken. You can probably do that once they have settled in their housing at night. It does not hurt them but should make them unable to fly over the fence as their flight will be unbalanced and even more inefficient then usual. It will need to be done regularly as the feathers grow back. though.
To do this on free ranging feral chickens would almost certainly give them a death sentence to every predator out there, surely? Foxes, mink, passing dogs...

OP I would get the vet check done, but also take the eggs from the chickens as soon as you see them. Stop letting them breed. Fencing an acre even cheaply isn't an easy job. Or swap fields with another horse.
 

Winters100

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Clipping wont stop them getting over a normal height fence I dont think. Mine will happily hop over things that height. The chicken electric fencing is worse than useless as well. Can you attach the chicken wire fencing to her permiter fencing then as a line of electric on the top about 3 to 4 inches above the top rail? That way if they do jump they will get a zap and likely wont try again. The mesh fencing wont stand up to chickens. I have it and they just push through at the bottom and make their own way in. It cost me a couple of hundred quid to do an acre with it as well I think!
I don't think they will get a zap if they are jumping - would it not just be the same as birds sitting on the electricity wires?
 
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