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Bird Dogs?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Has anyone ever heard of a bird dog existing peacefully with a flock of chickens?  If so, I'd love to hear your stories. I thought I read one on here earlier, with a picture accompanying it, but I can't find it now.

 

The reason I ask is because in early February I gave 2 roosters to a boy who lived on a farm who had a bird dog.  He claimed his bird dog got along well with his chickens, that's what "bird dogs" are for, guarding birds.  Indeed, when I got to his farm, his broody hen was right up next to his bird dog.  He said they were best friends.

 

I had had a terrible time trying to find a good home for my roosters, and I was so pleased they were able to go to that farm together.  There were about 16 hens.

 

But when I got home, I realized bird dogs aren't protectors of birds, they are bird killers!

 

But is it possible they are also protectors of birds, in some cases.

 

I'm worried that although the bird dog had apparently not killed any chickens yet, could a bird dog snap if a strange rooster was in its midst, since roosters are more in your face?

 

I am afraid to call the farm to see how the roosters fared, for fear of bad news, since I have nowhere else to place them.  I figure it's better not to know if some terrible fate befell them.  It would be wonderful to know they are okay, but I figure the odds are not good.

 

So I'm just hoping for some positive stories of bird dogs and roosters co-existing peacefully.

 

Thanks for your help. The bird dog did seem pretty sweet, but can't dogs just snap at any time, and is a rooster more likely to cause them to snap than hens?

post #2 of 29

First of all, "bird dogs" in general are NOT "bird killers". They are bred to retrieve birds that have been killed by hunters, and to do so with a soft mouth so as not to destroy the meat of the bird. A "hard mouthed' dog is no good to a hunter who hunts for meat. We have always had labrador retrievers on our farm. Some have not been good with the chickens when I first started raising them, but that was totally my fault. I was naive and thought that everyone would just get along naturally. I have since learned that the dog needs to be trained to leave the chickens alone. The dog we have now was taught as a 7-week old pup to leave the chickens alone. He'll be 9 years old in May, loves to hunt and retrieve pheasants, and has never been a problem with the chickens. The only thing he does is runs through the middle of them while they're out free ranging and scatters them - then looks around like, "Who did that?" The dog before this one pulled a surprise on me once. He came from the little pond behind the barn, carrying an adult teal. The bird was unharmed, just looking around while the dog carried it to me. That same day, the dog came back from a second trip to the pond carrying two eggs! Unbroken and unharmed.

 

As far as your roosters go, you did what you had to do. You found them a home, and now it's time to let them go. Don't call. When they left your place, they became someone else's property and they have the right to do what they wish with them. That's the risk of selling or giving away your chickens.

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

When I gave them the roosters I asked for visiting privileges.  They said I could come see them.  That was part of the deal.  They said to call first, to make sure they were home.

 

Now, I'm sure they would feel bad if something has happened to them, but it's a risk I took.  I figured if they knew I might want to come to see them, they might take better care of them.  They promised they wouldn't eat them.  Of course, it's possible foxes got them.

 

The thing is, I did the best I could for them, and if something terrible happened, I really don't want to know.

 

I think the only way I would call is if I had another rooster ever that I had to give away, I might call just to find out how those 2 fared, so as not to make the same mistake again.  (Whether the bird dog killed them, a fox got them, whether they gave them away, etc.)  It would be interesting to know.  But for now I'd like to hope they are okay, even if it is naive on my part.

 

Thanks for the good dog story.  It does give me some hope.

post #4 of 29

If they were willing to agree to visiting privileges, I would think that they would be taking good care of them. Not necessarily because they think you might come by, but because if they understand that you were attached, they would be the kind of people who feel the same way you do about your chickens.  Personally, I would hang onto that and let them go.

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #5 of 29
I have a Labrador Retriever named Mick. Since puppyhood he's been raised around just about every type of critter imaginable. He's about 14 now, and I don't hesitate to let him out when the birds are free ranging. Here's a picture of Mick doing what he does best, watching his feather babies. He's got 2 cats as well... smile.png
photobucket-5381-1328568728936.jpg
Nikki
*C'mon, get flappy!*
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Nikki
*C'mon, get flappy!*
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post #6 of 29

I posted pics of my GSP the other day in this thread.  I've been soooo pleasantly supprised at how Gullivor gets along w/ the new chickens and especially the chicks.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/644303/gullivor-and-the-chicks#post_8684235

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

I love the positive dog stories!  Please keep 'em coming!

 

I do think they take good care of animals, but the boy said he'd raised the rooster he'd had from a tiny chick, and the rooster just dropped dead one day.  He wasn't very old, and the boy was shocked.  I explained about fatty liver disease, and it turned out he did feed him scratch.  I told him the hazards of that.

 

The other thing that worries me is that the boy had raised some Black Java roosters he loved.  But he said when they hit adolescence they suddenly turned mean, and he couldn't figure out why.  I suspect the boy had overloved them, and sometimes those roosters go bad, not having boundaries.  I'm haunted by his father saying, "We won't have any mean roosters on this farm."

 

So when I got home I sent them some info on how to have gentle roosters, techniques you can use to keep them nice.  I hope they read it, and that the techniques worked.  My boys weren't mean, but you never know.

 

The father really liked the looks of one of my roosters, saying he looked like a silver-laced Wyandotte.  I'm pretty sure he would not have gotten eaten, unless he turned mean.

 

I don't think they would have eaten them themselves, if the roosters went mean, but they might have given them away to someone who did.

 

So the way I look at it, as tender hearted as I am about my boys, I am just best off not knowing how they fared.  It's better to be Pollyannaish and assume everything went fine with them.  Right?

 

I worry I may run into someone who knows the family and they will tell me a sad story, but it's not likely.  They are in a town about an hour away, and I don't know many country folks who live up there, though I do know a few.

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClareScifi View Post

I love the positive dog stories!  Please keep 'em coming!

 

I do think they take good care of animals, but the boy said he'd raised the rooster he'd had from a tiny chick, and the rooster just dropped dead one day.  He wasn't very old, and the boy was shocked.  I explained about fatty liver disease, and it turned out he did feed him scratch.  I told him the hazards of that.

 

The other thing that worries me is that the boy had raised some Black Java roosters he loved.  But he said when they hit adolescence they suddenly turned mean, and he couldn't figure out why.  I suspect the boy had overloved them, and sometimes those roosters go bad, not having boundaries.  I'm haunted by his father saying, "We won't have any mean roosters on this farm."

 

So when I got home I sent them some info on how to have gentle roosters, techniques you can use to keep them nice.  I hope they read it, and that the techniques worked.  My boys weren't mean, but you never know.

 

The father really liked the looks of one of my roosters, saying he looked like a silver-laced Wyandotte.  I'm pretty sure he would not have gotten eaten, unless he turned mean.

 

I don't think they would have eaten them themselves, if the roosters went mean, but they might have given them away to someone who did.

 

So the way I look at it, as tender hearted as I am about my boys, I am just best off not knowing how they fared.  It's better to be Pollyannaish and assume everything went fine with them.  Right?

 

I worry I may run into someone who knows the family and they will tell me a sad story, but it's not likely.  They are in a town about an hour away, and I don't know many country folks who live up there, though I do know a few.


If that's what you need to do for your peace of mind, then yes. You found them a new home, now look forward and not back. You can't undo it. If you run into someone who knows the family, don't ask about the roosters. It sounds like they went to a good home, so I don't know why you're so convinced that something awful has happened to them.... (It sure seems that way in your posts, anyway)
 

 

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

I don't know anyone who knows the family.  I'm just thinking I might overhear someone in a store talking about the roosters or something, maybe mention the family's name and then say something about what happened to their roosters.    I think they went to a good home, but since they'd lost a rooster to an unexplained death and had to give away their Java roosters for meanness, and have predators, the odds are very good that something bad has probably happened to the roosters by now.  Not to mention the 2 dogs might have gotten them.  But no news is good news, perhaps.

 

I e-mailed the mother shortly after I gave them the roosters, and she didn't e-mail back.  They did not respond to the Valentines, either.  They may not have wanted me to know if something bad happened.  That is what I suspect.  Had they e-mailed back and said all was fine, or given me a call to let me know they appreciated the Valentines and to say the roosters were fine and settled in, I'd feel better.  I'd have something solid to go on.

 

post #10 of 29

bird dogs and chickens can be fine together. The only time my chocolate lab minds the chickens is when one of them trys to catch that big brown  worm that keeps wiggling on her south end. If the dog is not aggressive with one chicken it is probably ok with all chickens and believe me a bird dog is not ever going to be intimidated by a chicken unless he's very young. As stated earlier bird dogs are trained not to hurt the birds just fetch them. I had a german shorthair that I had to stop hunting Quail with cuz she would never let me shoot just bring me wet but unhurt birds.

If  you ain't the lead dog the view never changes!
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If  you ain't the lead dog the view never changes!
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