I lost my first 17 chicks to my German Shepherds, They busted into my brooder in the garage when I went in to get lunch, now the dogs have a 20 x 40 play yard with there house and the chicken house ins on the other side of my shop building. The replacement chicks have a 20 x 40 run with a 10 by 12 chicken coop inside the run . I was devastated when the dogs did this.
Are Dogs Always Predators to Chickens? - Page 5
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Edited by Noahbird77 - 4/13/16 at 1:53pm
I recommend being very careful but if you know your dogs, you'll know when it's safe to let your birds out to free range when the dogs are out.
I had a beagle/doxie mix and a pom who were always good with any small animals. Currently I have a 12 year old pitbull and a 19 year old Aussie who have also never chased any small animals.
There is Lump, my grandson, Zander and you can see Zeki the starling on the bed with them as well. Zeki rides the dog, the turkey tries to, but he's kinda heavy for poor Lump. He's been bit by ferrets, rode by parrots and he just doesn't mind anyone. He will chase coons and cats that go into the chicken yard. If he catches up to them he runs them over, but has never used his mouth. We had an issue with a rather mean tom cat getting in the yard and actually standing his ground to us humans. Lump ran at him, with the tom growling...ran him right over and then turned and managed a one more run over before the cat decided he had enough and ran over our fence. A strange rooster hit the yard once and it only took one run over and it was out of the yard fast. A kitten was in the yard and he just whined till we got it and brought it back to the neighbor. He will even let our own (or are they his?) chickens steal his food. He doesn't really like it, but they peck him in the head and he lets them get away with it. Our bunny considers him her best buddy and does nose kisses and stands on his back to get in a better position to periscope around.
He seems to hate death though. Brought him fishing once and when he saw us kill one he spent the rest of the day with his tail tucked and laying as close to the car as he could while looking sadly at the dead fish. Tried feeding him the fish and he was not interested at all. He won't eat anything that remotely still looks like it did when alive.
I can tell you that my experience has been largely good with my dog and her flock. She is mixed breed (German Shepherd Dog and Boxer we think). When we first got our chicks she was only about 6 months old. We lost one bird- my husband and I disagree about what happened, but it's possible that she played too rough-we didn't see it. However, since then, (it's been 2 years), she hasn't hurt any birds. In fact, she will break up cockfights when they break out- which helps keep the peace. The one thing she does like to do is occasionally run past the flock, startling the ladies. Whether this is intentional or incidental, I don't know for sure, but I think she gets a kick out of it. But she knows that "No chickens" means to back off. And, at this point, the chickens are used to her antics.
I think it's probably smart to choose your dog breed carefully. It seems like a shepherd would be a good choice. Also, look for articles on introducing dogs to chickens. Be patient and don't leave them alone until you are pretty sure the dog isn't a risk. Good luck!