"My hens got eaten by __________"
Here is my hen dust bathing next to barn. I am always with them when the are out of their coop.
I have heard one to many times these last few weeks about people losing hens to neighborhood dogs or other predators. Now I understand no one intends for this to happen, in fact most people are taking very good care of their hens. But your number one priority is to keep your hens healthy and safe. "Free Range" backyard hens are NOT safe if you just let them roam about with no protection. Actually your neighbors dog can't help himself! It is your responsibility to keep your coop predator safe and your hens/roosters safe.
One person said to me "we lost several last week to a neighbor's dog" he frowned. I asked "what did you change to prevent this from happening again?" No response. A few minutes later "our hens are outside roaming in our backyard for bugs and grass right now" he said as if he were doing them a favor. "But you aren't there to protect them" I gently said. No response. I hope they are all safe. Honestly I'm sure he is doing what he thinks is right. I respect that, and obviously just being with your hens doesn't gaurentee that they will be safe. I just ask, make the effort.
I had someone else say "How do you keep the predators out of your coop?", well I have chain link fence that goes about 20 inches into the ground with big telephone pole type things where the fence meets the ground, the coop also has a tin roof so no hawks can get in and I never leave them alone outside in the field unless I am there, or the farmer I work with is there with her dogs. I never leave them alone. They are too vulnerable.
I don't want to make anyone feel bad. Would you ever put other animals you cared about in the same pasture as the animal above it on the food chain? I know that even my method doesn't mean my hens will be 100 percent safe. Just think about it.
Please, take care of your animals. Protect them. Keep them healthy and happy otherwise honestly you are simply feeding them to other animals. Keep your hens safe.