My horse is killing the yard chickens

Birker2020

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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.
You only need to clip one side which makes it easier. It will throw it off balance and it won't be able to fly.https://www.bhwt.org.uk/health-welfare/wing-clipping/

If you have had the ex batt hens from the BHWT they will take them back if you explain the situation to them.
 

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I had a livery's horse once who very viciously attacked the sheep which were on the pasture; owner had assured me her horse "was fine with sheep" but I went out one day and he was pulverising this poor sheep with his front hooves in very much the same way as I guess this mare is doing with the poultry. He would also do it with dogs and we had to make sure no dogs were ever allowed in the field with him which made things very difficult.

Some horses are just very possessive and once they start doing it the habit is there; I personally don't think there is any supplement or wonder-cure that will stop this mare doing this now she's started it.

(Edited) have just re-read original post and see the hens are NOT the property of the livery they belong to the YO. However, as a YO myself - if I knew that a livery's horse was killing my birds - then sorry but they'd be getting notice to leave, I wouldn't have that!! Livery would have to go and take her horse with her! Sorry OP but that's what my priority would have to be. I have poultry and am very fond of them and no way would I tolerate a situation where they were getting killed by a livery's horse on a regular basis.

As I see it, there is a clear choice to be made. If the YO is not prepared or indeed able to fence-back her poultry (and TBH why should she? It is her place and these are her birds), then OP should do the decent thing and remove her horse forthwith to a yard where there are no poultry on-site. But people SHOULD be warned that this horse has aggressive tendencies and MAY possibly also attack dogs and other small mammals.

If someone was on my yard and their horse was killing my stock then they'd be getting marching orders. End of!! Simples. They might be the best livery in the world but the safety of my stock would win the day.
 
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HollyWoozle

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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.
Genuine question - if the chickens currently free range on the property then why would their run need to be fox-proof? Since they are shut in a fox-proof barn over night anyway? If they survive the foxes when they free-range in the horse fields then the risk is no higher when there is a fence separating them from the horses. That would be the best solution in my opinion and then still lock them in the barn at night.

I would also second the opinions about looking more into your mare's behaviour. We've had a range of horses here including several mares and they have never attacked the ducks who roam the horse field with them, inc. when they've eaten from their dinner buckets, nor have they shown any aggression to rogue chickens who escape the run and wander about with them. They have once injured a goose who got in their way at feed time (and got knocked over). Perhaps it's just in your mare's nature but I would probably want to check out that aggressive side further to be sure of no underlying health issues.
 

HuskyFluff

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I think my first course of action would be to ask the landowner if the chickens could be rehomed as he doesn't seem to be at all bothered by their welfare/living conditions.

Once I had the answer to that question, I'd look at my options. You could be at risk of spending money when you don't need to OP, if the landowner would agree to get rid of them in the first place.
 

ester

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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?
correct, they need to be on the ground to complete the circuit with the earth.
I'm pondering how many are originals that were owned by the landowner given you've been there 9 years. Not sure we can declare any offspring his for the purposes of rehoming.
 

ester

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Genuine question - if the chickens currently free range on the property then why would their run need to be fox-proof? Since they are shut in a fox-proof barn over night anyway? If they survive the foxes when they free-range in the horse fields then the risk is no higher when there is a fence separating them from the horses. That would be the best solution in my opinion and then still lock them in the barn at night.
Having them in a pen means they have limited choices to get away if a predator gets in with them, compared to when they are free ranging.
 

exracehorse

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Ok. Some of the replies here have been uncalled for. And we are going round in circles. You hate your horse. RSPCA. Get rid of the horse. Cull the chickens. Get rid of the chickens. Kill the old cock. The chickens don’t belong to me. They have always been on the land. For over forty years. I do feed them. And shut them up at night because of fox. I did take in three ex batteries beginning year as they were going to be killed. Dolly got in her way when horse tied up. She kicked her when tied up. Three months ago. That was a genuine accident Got too close to. Trying to eat her pony nuts. Not nice of the mare I agree. And I saw it happen. It was her leg. I splinted it. Looked after hen for 6 weeks. She’s fully recovered. A cock was found in her field badly limping. Two months ago. He was dispatched. I assume she did it. But possibly got under the feet of one of the other horses. Although I suspect her. I did then find one that had been stomped on on Saturday. And was unfortunately dead. which was awful. Unfortunately they go in her field. Well .. all the fields. The chickens have free ranged for over forty years. As chickens do on a lot of yards near me. I Shut them up at night. I feed them. I rent the land. I cannot take her to another yard. I have four others. Nor will I sell her. Which are some of the suggestions. She is not a viscous horse. Wouldn’t trust a dog in the field. But no dogs are there. I’ve had her since she was two. She’s always pulled faces at them. Didn’t like them in her stable But never stomped. So After three incidents. In twelve weeks And I’ve been at the yard for 9 years with no problems from horses and hens, I asked for advice. Some super advice was to clip the wings. And put up fencing. Which I’ve said I would do. I’ve been looking on line this morning. I have put her in the winter field this morning. Which is 6 acres away at the back. As can’t get fencing until weekend as I work full time. I work to look after them. I inherited them when I rented the land. I’m trying to do the best cost effective solution. And something I can put up myself. Have been given great fencing advice. And yes. I did see her chase some once. When I was at the yard.
 
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Kat

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I don't understand why you are spending your own money feeding an ever expanding flock of chickens that belong to someone else.

And you make a special trip to shut them in every night, at your own expense.

I think I would at least want the land owner to agree to the cocks being rehomed/dispatched so the problem starts to shrink rather than grow. But really if he doesn't want to deal with them he should re-home them all.
 

ester

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Can chickens that have only been born since you were on the land not be yours on the basis that someone else owned their ancestors?
 
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Thank you all for your advice. It’s being sorted. As stated above.
^^^ Ehmmm............ "sorted as stated above".

I'm very unclear as to how the situation has/will be "sorted" right now. Can you clarify please OP??

Presumably mare is still on the land? and Chooks still on the land? So still very definite possibility of this continuing to happen?

Sorry not trying to be funny, but from your most recent post I'm more than a bit confused tbh!
 

millikins

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I'm really not sure why the poor OP has been given so much flak. I too wouldn't pay several hundred pounds to fence them in, I doubt it'll work either, feral chickens will just go over a mesh fence and the cheap chicken wire will last about 1 night before a fox, badger or rabbit pushes through it. Unless you are emotionally attached to the chickens I'd be on the phone to the RSPCA, I'd also be a little creative with the truth and say a previous livery was feeding them and has now left and you cannot continue.
 

Annagain

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I think OP is getting a bit of a hard time. She has never said she's going to carry on letting her mare kill the chickens - she is looking for advice on solving the problem. The mare is only definitely known to have attacked one - it was eating her food while she was tied up so her actions were possibly more understandable in those circumstances. The other two - while the evidence is fairly strong in the case of the one found in her field - are just suspected cases. The limping cockerel could have got injured in many other ways. I don't think it's fair to suggest she's been allowing this to happen and turning a blind eye to it.

The first incident wasn't in the field; there's no conclusive evidence the second was the mare's fault and the third (for which there's strong but not overwhelming evidence) is the one that's caused her to ask for advice. Had she come to us after the first incident we'd have said, "The fact it happened on the yard doesn't mean it will happen in the field." After the second, it would have been "Are you sure your mare hurt him? He could have hurt his leg in many other ways." but now she's come to us after the third it's "You should have done something a long time ago."

The chickens are not hers and it's not a livery situation where there's a YO / YM to deal with the situation or give her notice. The landowner owns the birds but has shown no interest in them. Far from neglecting them, OP has taken a certain level of responsibility for them when she didn't really have to and all she's had is people questioning why she has them if she doesn't look after them and pretty much accusing her of abusing them. If she'd done nothing then come to us saying "feral chickens have got into my mare's field and she killed one of them" she'd be told it wasn't her fault and their owner should be stepping u[ to protect them.

OP - I'd get some cheap chicken wire and cable tie it to the post and rail as the first port of call. I'd also talk to the landowner to see if he'd be happy to contribute to the cost. If he says no, ask if he's therefore happy for you to try to rehome them.
 

Annagain

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I'm still confused how he owns them.
From what OP says, he owned the originals and pretty much left them to their own devices. If he owned the original ones and let them breed indiscriminately, the offspring would also be his. They're certainly more his than OP's. The fact that she's fed them and kept them safe makes her a good person, not their owner.
 

ester

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Kind of gives the impression he doesn't really care if they are there or not though? Would they be alive if the OP wasn't there? Given that we say passports aren't proof of ownership but paying vets bills often is.
 

Kat

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I think OP is getting a bit of a hard time. She has never said she's going to carry on letting her mare kill the chickens - she is looking for advice on solving the problem. The mare is only definitely known to have attacked one - it was eating her food while she was tied up so her actions were possibly more understandable in those circumstances. The other two - while the evidence is fairly strong in the case of the one found in her field - are just suspected cases. The limping cockerel could have got injured in many other ways. I don't think it's fair to suggest she's been allowing this to happen and turning a blind eye to it.

The first incident wasn't in the field; there's no conclusive evidence the second was the mare's fault and the third (for which there's strong but not overwhelming evidence) is the one that's caused her to ask for advice. Had she come to us after the first incident we'd have said, "The fact it happened on the yard doesn't mean it will happen in the field." After the second, it would have been "Are you sure your mare hurt him? He could have hurt his leg in many other ways." but now she's come to us after the third it's "You should have done something a long time ago."

The chickens are not hers and it's not a livery situation where there's a YO / YM to deal with the situation or give her notice. The landowner owns the birds but has shown no interest in them. Far from neglecting them, OP has taken a certain level of responsibility for them when she didn't really have to and all she's had is people questioning why she has them if she doesn't look after them and pretty much accusing her of abusing them. If she'd done nothing then come to us saying "feral chickens have got into my mare's field and she killed one of them" she'd be told it wasn't her fault and their owner should be stepping up to protect them.

OP - I'd get some cheap chicken wire and cable tie it to the post and rail as the first port of call. I'd also talk to the landowner to see if he'd be happy to contribute to the cost. If he says no, ask if he's therefore happy for you to try to rehome them.
The OP isn't being accused of neglecting the chickens since she clarified that they aren't hers (it wasn't clear at first).

The owner of the chickens is neglecting them and taking the OP for a mug. If he doesn't want to care for them he should re-home them.
 

I'm Dun

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Kind of gives the impression he doesn't really care if they are there or not though? Would they be alive if the OP wasn't there? Given that we say passports aren't proof of ownership but paying vets bills often is.
Its quite common on a few yards I've been to. They have a load of chickens and sadly treat them as disposable. some get eaten or meet an untimely end, but theres always more to replace them. Its not right, but it is certainly not unusual in a farm type situation.
 

ester

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Oh now, I'm not suggesting it's uncommon but that if they are as such disposable would the land owner care if they weren't there anymore? Given any lack of involvement.
 

LegOn

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Maybe this is a little devious, but white lies are sometimes the best thing to protect everyone.

Would you maybe consider rehome like a chunk of them, not all but a significant portion & just tell the owner you came in one morning and a few were dead and the others must have escaped/ran cause a fox got in. Obviously its not your fault then cause of the fox & you are minding them best you can... but then it might action him to help or else just every now & then rehome a bunch & reduce down your herd until its a bit more manageable & not really in your horses way all the time?
 

Kat

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Oh now, I'm not suggesting it's uncommon but that if they are as such disposable would the land owner care if they weren't there anymore? Given any lack of involvement.
Quite, if he doesn't care about them the cheapest and safest solution would be to get his agreement that all of the birds are rehomed.

Or even most of them, retaining a manageable number that could live in a run.

This isn't just about the immediate problem either it is also about their long term wellbeing. I mean what would happen if the OP was no longer able to look after them, the chickens would be neglected and left out for the foxes.
 

Mrs Jingle

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"""""""exracehorse, post: 14708796, member: 91052"]Ok. Some of the replies here have been uncalled for.""""""

I agree they have, and most of the uncalled for ones have been of no help to you whatsoever with suggestions so perhaps just ignore them?

It is obvious you have done your best for the landowners feral chooks for many years, and that you are distressed to think of your horse harming them, but I do think things are now getting beyond your control and it is not fair on you, your horses or the chooks.

I really hope you manage to find a workable solution or best way YO will agree to you rehoming them, I am sure some of the rescue charities would be able to help with that. If you like having them around, as I suspect you do and are very fond of them, maybe just keep a handful that you can safely contain and still have the pleasure of having them around?

Please don't let some of the replies get you down, you have been given some good ideas, and also some absolutely bitchy rubbish, ignore the latter, you do not deserve that in any way shape or form.

If it helps, I posted on here many years ago about my little Patterdale killing feral cats that came from a neighbours property. I was very, very distressed about it and asked for any ideas how to deal with it as it was impossible to stop the cats coming on our property, and watching my terrier kill them was some of the most distressing incidents I have ever witnessed and been unable to stop. Well!!! Some of the responses I got almost suggested I was throwing my little killer dog into an enclosed space of feral cats just so she could kill them - really it was very, very nasty and really upset me for a long time afterwards. Just an example how one very useful and generally nice forum can turn on people when they ask for genuine help when they are down and struggling to deal with something. Chin up, weed out the good ideas from the bad and hopefully something will get sorted out. Do let us know how you get on.
 
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