My dogs Vs Neighbors free ranging chickens

shellymb(z5MI)August 20, 2011

so, I have chickens, which I like.. they lay me eggs, and I do let them out and into my garden at times to forage, but I don't let them run in my neighbors yard... Well, My new neighbors own about 1/2 acre, they put up a chicken coop/run right on the property line and are now letting the chickens run loose all over my yard. they have dug up arond 2 maple trees and on one side of the foundation to my house.. they are literally right out my window... When I have pointed this out twice and told them that my dog tied out at times would kill these hens if she could reach them, they have not stopped letting them out at all... I will feel somewhat responsible if my dog eats one of there hens, but i keep my bird dogs far from my chickens. and if my tied up dog get there wondering bird isn't this there responsibility? and what about the damage done to my yard? (digging up the lawn)

Shelly in Michigan

with 2 german shorthaired pointers

and 19 laying hens

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First and foremost make SURE your dogs cannot get over to the neighbors property. They can shoot your dogs for harrassing/killing their livestock. Then they can sue you for the cost of the chickens.

You warned your neighbors. Your neighbors are irresponsible for letting THEIR chickens on YOUR property. I would imagine anyone who free ranges chickens knows there are risks with free ranging-mainly loss of some hens whether it be your dogs or another predator. Soon they will have but a few left. Be aware they may try to blame your dogs whether your dogs killed a chicken or are not to blame and cannot stop their irresponsibility. Do not blame yourself or offer to pay for a chicken that your dog killed on your property. They were warned, unfortunately the chickens will pay the price.

If you have not done so, for the sake of your dogs, I would run an electric fence along your property line, just in case your dogs get out. Make sure your dogs are contained/under control.

I repeat, your neighbors have the right to shoot your dogs IF they are on their property harrassing/killing their chickens.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 4:51PM
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p.s. sooooo are these chickens in a run they built or they are not? Or do they just coop them at night?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 5:28PM
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they were free ranging in my back yard again yesterday. My dog chased them away from the yard, while tied in her zip line. She didn't actually touch them.
BrendaSue; if they whip out a gun and start firing on there half acre they would be in violation of the gun laws of this state which states you can't shoot a weapon within 300ft of an occupied building. Yes i understand they could shoot my dog if it was getting there animals, but My house is less than 40 ft from there coop! so I guess when my dog finially gets there hen I better hope she is on my side of the grape vines which mark the property line. I am now keeping both dogs tied up, where as they used to be able to run on my 12 acres, like when I had my chickens all locked up and could walk with them. Not so much now. I am going to be putting in a fenced back yard so they can run around a little. to clarify- the N. Chickens have a coop and a outside run but they let them out of it in the day time to wonder the area.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 9:50AM
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pris(8B TX)

Send them a certified letter stating what you've told us here. Their chickens are running loose on your property and causing damage. Furthermore, you have to keep your dogs tied up to protect their chickens which is an imposition. Protecting their livestock is their responsibility not yours. After you receive confirmation they've received your notice. Let your dogs loose. You might want to have the added safety of a fence between your properties just to ensure the safety of your animals before you send the notification. Bear in mind the fence is to keep you dogs in and probably won't keep the chickens from coming in. They can fly enough to get over the typical fence. But if they do get in and are killed by your dogs, you have your certified letter to protect you from prosecution.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 4:50PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

Heck, call Animal Control! Chickens running about in YOUR yard, messing up YOUR PROPERTY, is as bad as someone with a loose cow! Neighbors are not supposed to be using your place for keeping their birds, requiring YOUR DOGS to be confined in their own yard with a zip line to prevent chicken damage.

You have been beyond nice, now you need to get the authorities to make a record of the problem for any future difficulties.

Give AC a call or the Sheriff's office so a Deputy can come by and document things for you. You may need to make several calls to get the nusiance thing worked out. Your dogs should have free run of their own property, not the neighbor's chickens because owners are too lazy to clean pens or confine them. If they want to do free range, they should get some of those portable electric net fences and trim chicken wings to keep them inside their own fences.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 10:10PM
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Shelly, I agree that you have been very nice to these people. I have chickens and cats among various other farm critters. I also have three dogs who would probably love to eat the smaller ones if given a chance. I have two huskies who are kenneled and a new inside "mutt." I LOVE my cats, each and every one. I do know that they may stray and if so, they may get killed by neighbor dogs. I don't want them to be a nuisance to others but it is in their nature to go where they aren't wanted. All my neighbors have dogs and from time to time those dogs come here, tempted by the various small animals and birds. I "shoo" them home but will not tolerate them chasing or hurting my animals on my own property. I feel that if my critters leave our property, they are fair game but it is my job to protect them and try to keep them here. I do not let my chickens free range in the yard any more for that reason. They have a huge area to range, the people who used to live here used to raise Emus and thus I have quite a large fenced area.

Long story short, you have been kind and have given fair warning. I would just worry that your dogs would chase the chickens into "their yard" and that would then pose a problem legally. I agree with the above poster, I would call the police to at least document that you have given several good faith warnings and will not put up with it anymore. Lori

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 10:20AM
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Update...spoke again to my neighbors. They do not understand why they need to keep the chickens off my property. they don't want to pay for a privacy fence, but we compromised in that i will provide connections, and posts and that we will share cost on fence wire and put up a field type fence between our yards. I have pointed out that 48 inches isn't really going to do much to keep the chickens from flying over. I suggested they trim one wing so they can't fly that well. they were not very intrested in that.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 2:04PM
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So here is the most recent update. The Neighbors never bought any fencing. They continues to allow there chickens to roam at will to my house. I left my house one sat. and their chickens were at my front deck. I came home they were in my rose bushes. I went to there house and knocked on the door and asked the guy to move his animals and pointed out the damage his animals had done. he went off on me.. said he would be swinging a 2x4 at me and it didn't matter what his chickens did as he was taking out the grape vine (on my property.. fyi)well I had the cops out to talk to him about not ever coming on my property again. Plus I hired a survey crew and they staked the property. His dogrun/chicken enclosure is 4 feet onto my property. today is a week since my Survey. and they still haven't moved the pen, dispite a certified letter to remove the pen from my property. I want to install a fence in the area which there pen is localed. A nice privacy fence. Can I move his dog run to do it? its on my property? Should I start charging him rent? what do you think.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 9:10PM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

If he doesn't comply promptly, I would hire an attorney. The guy is clearly unreasonable and threatened you with violence that could take your life. I hope that threat was in the policy report. I would document everything, photos and pictures of the chickens on your property and the damage caused. Photos of the survey stakes and that clearly his enclosure is well on your property. The guy sound likes the kind that is crazy and stubborn and I don't see him changing that. If he comes on your property or touches anything on your side of the property, take photos or video.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Obviously not much is working with the neighbor. I myself would lock them up with my own chickens. I think the neighbor will catch on and realize he needs to lock them up or you will reap the benefits of having his chickens.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 12:06PM
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they have been keeping the chickens in much better lately and they have moved the pen off my property.. thank heavens.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 9:14AM
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bruglover(Gulf States)

Good! They probably figured out if you called the sheriff, they would be guilty of a criminal offense - trespassing - for having their coop on your property. What a nerve. This would not have involved an attorney for you, but handcuffs for him, lol.

Might still want to have a chat with the sheriff sometime, as the guy was so belligerent. Make sure he isn't wanted somewhere, for something. Make sure he isn't on probation/parole. If he is, have a chat with his parole officer. Heh.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 2:30PM
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Nice to hear the neighbors are being more neighborly.

They've been put on notice.

IMHO, I don't think I'd have a problem letting the dog loose and replacing their $10 chicken just to teach their butt a lesson.

Hopefully it won't come to that, but if their chickens are in your yard just as you and your dog are coming home and your dog jumps out of your car in your driveway and catches their chicken in your garden (so sorry).

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 3:59PM
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If you live in an area with open, free range laws, it's actually your responsibility to fence livestock off your property. I've lived in a couple of counties, two different states with these laws and had to deal with neighbors letting horses and cows run loose.
Sorry about you having such an obnoxious neighbor, he sounds like a real winner. I'd call the police any time he threatens so that you have a record of it.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 1:36PM
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Ok, So the chickens are back in force... lots of scratched areas around my side and front yard.. Lots of chicken poop... and they don't seem to care... plus animal control will not do anything about this..

I think Its time for the 3 S method..

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 1:20PM
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this is so frustrating to me. I would be so angry, but at the same time that guy sounds like a real nut bar.
When we have trouble with cattle busting in to our hay patches, the law will haul them to the cattle barn if the owners don't do anything to contain their cattle. Seems to me that should be the case for any farm animal. I would start documenting with words and photo's every time the chickens destroy your property. Plants are very expensive to replace.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:51PM
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You can drag him into small claims court without an attorney, and it would be fairly easy to win. But actually getting paid on the judgment could be a problem if he is a deadbeat.

Call lawn services and get written estimates to fix the damage. Of course the price will be ridiculous. If you have photos and estimates, you will win. The other guy might not even show up to court, in which case you win by default.

The property line is a separate issue. Instead of money, you would sue for specific performance to establish a new property line. You'd need paperwork from the surveyors to prove everything. btw, if he leaves that coop there for 20 years, by the laws of adverse possession, he would actually own whatever piece of your land that he had claimed as his own.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Shelly, can you give us an update on how that neighbor is behaving? I sometimes have neighbor problems and we work it out, but when a person is as crazy as that one sounds, they typically 'stupid' themselves right out of there and into jail or the poorhouse or something.
If his chickens were always on my place causing damage, I'd document everything, keep a record of every event with local law enforcement, then start having some free chicken dinners. If he won't pay for your damage, then he can at least give you some free meals!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:23PM
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