We decided to add chickens to our humble home in the woods; for kicks, bug control and of course eggs. I suppose meat also, but I don't know about that; neither of us grew up on a farm so our relationships with animals have always been in the realm of pets.
A selection of easy to manage (if there is such a thing) heavy breeds that are good layers were chosen for several reasons: plans to free range in the fenced in yard, minimize flying over the 4 ft fence and hawk predation with larger bodied birds, provide some semblance of intimidation to the dogs with larger birds, good laying capabilities and of course temperament to deter being attacked when going out in the yard.
We own 2 dogs. Hank is a retired racing greyhound who shows negligible prey drive and little interest in the chickens at this juncture. All one has to do is run or fly at him and he'll forever leave them all alone...he abhors conflict.
Junebug will be the challenge. She is a mixed breed from the humane society that was in need of a special home that would allow her to be, well, her. She has shown positive promise with the birds, as long as I define their 'place' and let her get accustomed to it. She does like to chase and sometimes herd, but mostly just watch them and make them fly around when she gets the urge. Its a good weight loss program for her and a good way to keep the birds alert and in shape...we hope. If all else fails we can always fence in a portion of the yard as a chicken run.
Here are both the dogs watching the birds the first time I put them out in the enclosed garden.
Now to meet the girls
We have 3 silver laced wyandottes, 3 barred rocks, 3 black australorps, 2 welsummers and 4 speckled sussex. Here's a few pictures of them at 6 & 7 weeks old in the 24x24 garden area and settling into their coop.
IMGP3928.gif IMGP3996.gif IMGP4076.gif IMGP4065.gif
IMGP3980.gif IMGP4051.gif IMGP4047.gif IMGP4153.gif
I don't know if you can upload videos here, but I'm going to try because watching these birds dust each afternoon is a precious thing.