We have a neighbor dog that comes over to the chickens run area and we do really have to watch him when he is off running loose. That said, he has dug under the run area and pulled up the fencing at the bottom in several different area just to get into the run area. He's some kind of Shepherd that is a hunter. He hunts the rabbits, squirrels and can jump into the air to catch birds, he has also brought his catch to his owners. He seems to come around most of the time when I give the hens people food. Dog does not get any human food what so ever so this is his way of trying to get something that he normally doesn't get at home. He never got into the run but he has got to close to the fencing one time and one of the hens almost pecked his tail, it would of if the dog didn't move. I think he is just interested in what the hens are eating when he visits and wants it!!! We do have him under control since he listens to us when we tell him to go home, he is pretty good other than digging under the fencing.
Are Dogs Always Predators to Chickens? - Page 6
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I have three Pomeranians and three cats, only one of which is an inside/outside cat. The other two get out once in awhile (slip thru' my legs!). None of the animals have tried to harm the hens, altho' the smallest Pom, 5 lbs, likes to jump at them and watch them scatter once in awhile, but with no harm intended. I did stay with them all when the chicks first arrived, and introduced them
all with no problem! Guess I'm just lucky. The ladies free range every day with absolutely no interest from anyone but the small white Pom, who still likes to cause a ruckus from time to time!! LOL
I'd have to echo the others who have said that it depends on the dog. I had a husky/shepherd that loved to mother everything. She would get upset with me when the baby chicks would start peeping louder because I was moving them around. She was an older dog when we first got chickens but I could totally leave her out alone with the chickens and not worry about her at all. However, I now have a lab/blue healer and had a shepherd mix dog that I can't trust at all with the chickens. Both of them got in the run last summer and killed 6 of my hens. We don't have the shepherd mix anymore because of other reasons. We are still working with the lab/blue healer to at least get her to leave the chickens alone. She's getting better but it will be a very long time, if ever that we will trust her. Certainly not like the husky/shepherd we had.
I have over 50 birds of various types - Australorps, Silkies, Pekins, Wyandottes, Frizzles, Araucanas, Indian Runner ducks and guinea fowl with seven young keets. I also have a poodle that loves all the birds and has never tried to harm even one of them. He sometimes wants to play - especially with the ducks and they have a lovely time together. I wouldn't suggest that all dogs would be so accepting of chooks etc. I guess it all depends on how you raise the dog and their breed. There will be certain breeds that won't want to do anything with them except kill. By the same token, I have an evil silkie rooster that has occasionally tried to take the poodle on, so now the dog gives him a wide berth but generally he just walks casually through the flock and most of them accept him.
All this talk about dogs makes me sad that both my dogs are so old. After all this time with them I've not realized how lucky I am to have never worried about a thing. I feel safer with one or both always being out during the day with the chickens, since most predators would not bother large dogs. I hate the idea of getting another dog that I am unable to rely on in that way.
Here's the sweetest dog we've EVER had... a rescued pitbull from the animal shelter. She's sniffed the chicks when I first brought them home a few weeks ago. Now she seems fine with them. In this picture she looks like she's guarding them.... Either that or she's hoping to be a winner winner of a chicken dinner! (Just kidding!) I let them out yesterday around her and everyone was fine. But it will be a good while before I leave the girls unattended... I'm just being super cautious I guess!