After our little reminisce over the past 3 posts, (even though I could’ve gone on for a 4th!), it’s time to carry on with the present.

Just before we were asked to go over to the UK to present a talk on self-sufficiency, we had bought 4 chickens from our local market, we really wanted our own eggs again. Before we built ‘The Willows’ we had owned chickens so knew how to rear them, but after a year or so the fox came and took them. This was partly my fault because I didn’t make their run secure enough, but you live and learn and this time it was to be bigger and better and definitely more secure.


The netting was pulled very tight and a batten was nailed to the bottom to stop anything from pulling at the netting, which comes out from the run by 8 inches to stop anything from digging under. The net was also dug into the ground.


The netting comes out as far as my hand and then into the ground.

Now we were secure…….. I DON’T THINK SO !!

The very next day E was working in tunnel 1 when she heard such a commotion. The neighbour’s dog was in the run with one of the chickens in its jaws. The dog was talked to very nicely ( well, what do you really think we said to it?), but unfortunately the poor chook died the next day. We had only had them for 4 days! The dog had actually pulled the netting out of the ground, pulling the wooden battern with it. We couldn’t believe it.

Ok, so that was now a big wake up call for us, so 4 strands of barbed wire were placed all around the bottom of the run, pulled tight and spaced at 4 inch intervals. After a few days the dog had been back in the run again, luckily no more chooks were missing but all of their food had been eaten. Now what to do? We were due to go away in 2 days time and we were starting to panic. More barbed wire needed I think.


I had to finish this on the morning of us leaving and now it was just up to chance, I’d done my best I hoped.

We arrived home after 1 week away to find just 2 chickens and a run full of broken eggs. We couldn’t believe it but this dog who isn’t a small animal, had managed to crawl through the barbed wire, leaving a lot of fur behind in the process. Our whole land is fenced with sheep netting and barbed wire to prevent animals straying onto the land and I was getting very ANGRY. It’s one thing to have a wild animal take your stock but not somebody elses so-called family pet! Anyway, after being home for about half an hour, E turned round and there was the missing chicken looking at her, so at least nothing had harmed her. After asking around we found out that these neighbours had in fact moved out leaving this poor dog to fend for its self! It was obviously very hungry which shouldn’t really have been our problem, but taking our chickens, their eggs and food then it became our problem. We contacted the animal rescue and it’s now safe and well, being fed and given the attention that it deserves.


” What you lookin’ at? You don’t scare me dog!”

So this is where the novice part comes into things because at the end of the day that dog taught us a good lesson. One has to secure livestock far better than one imagines and that includes fencing our land better.

Until next time.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda Andrews
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 16:57:46

    We have coyotes that jump 6 ft fences and get on the roof to chase the cats, so even if our covenants allowed we couldn’t have chickens:( but we hope to move in a couple of years and will definitely keep your solution in mind.


  2. dayphoto
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 17:22:58

    I hate how people treat their dogs and cats (sometimes) just say…here…go live off the land, never mind that you don’t know what that means. Do you have coyotes there? I hope not…I despise those nasty creatures!



    • Willowarchway
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 09:40:35

      No, thank goodness we don’t have coyotes, but isn’t it a good job otherwise a lot of ‘pets’ would go missing. What I don’t get is that nobody HAS to own a pet. Why take these animals on and then not feed them? E


  3. Robbie
    Nov 10, 2014 @ 13:44:12

    Wow, I put chicken wire around my blueberry plants to keep the animals from eating them to the ground in winter. I can’t imagine having a beautiful chicken taken! I would be mad. I was until you told me the people left their dog behind and he was just hungry. That made me angry for I have “had” rescue dogs over the years. How can you leave a family member behind!
    I hope your chickens are safe now:-) + the dog finds new owners:-)


  4. Willowarchway
    Nov 11, 2014 @ 22:36:44

    Exactly, why have a pet and then just leave it to fend for it’s self? The chickens are safe now and the dog is safe but awaiting a new family.


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