Acclamation your dog to the chickens


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 21, 2013
South Bend GO IRISH
Hello all! Newbie here and I will have tons of questions I'm sure. We would like to get some chicks soon and I was wondering how you get your dogs used to the idea of chickens. We have 2 small dogs, Oliver is a Maltese and Silky Terrier, he LOVES chasing and catching rabbits and squirrels, he's only been successful twice in his life but I'm afraid he would spend all day just barking at them in their coop or in a chicken tractor. I have no plans on letting them just roam around unless the dogs are inside. Also, we have a chain link fence and were wondering if we should get a privacy fence that would be higher.
Dogs and chickens...chickens and dogs. That's a pretty contentious issue on BYC. Some say that dogs are just another predator to worry about so why have one when you have chickens. Others (like me) have dogs that get along great with their flocks. Mine, in fact, have never hurt a chicken but have kept predators away - including killing potential chicken thieves, even a coyote! To get a wide range of perspectives post the words dogs and chickens into the BYC search bar...and sit down for a long read!! Good luck to you!
As everyone knows there are many opinions on the question of dogs and chickens as indicated by jcbmom. I had this same question years ago when I first bought chickens and one person told me dogs and chickens can't co-exist! I found that hard to believe since every farm has a dog with no problems. Anyway this is what worked for me. First of all if your dogs don't mind you to begin with, good luck. From day one I would have my dog lay on its side with his head down until he relaxed. Then I would place a chick right on top of him. I would not allow him to lift his head to even look at the bird or sniff it. Within days he had ten chicks all over him and he knew he couldn't move when the birds are out. It's important to make sure the dog is calm before introducing the bird! Twice a day for 15 minutes each session. The whole process took about a 2 weeks until he understood the bird was family and not dinner. Now the chickens along with my dog sun themselves together on the grass.
To prove this works...he is a 90 lb, high energy boxer who loves to hunt rabbits, squirrels, and coyotes; not chickens. Hope this helps.
Thank you the great idea of placing chicks on a calm, submissive dog. I have a Silky too, and a poodle mix. They are both trained to "leave it" even with a baby bunny in her mouth, she submitted and gave it up without harm. The one she caught she ate, but I couldn't blame her or take it away because I didn't
Catch her in the act. My dogs are trained to leave a treat on the floor between their legs or on their nose, they will wait until given a cue to eat it. Their nature is to hunt, I've had only one time where she wouldn't stop, hot on the trail of a cat.
We are going through this now as well. Our issue at current is that our dog believes the chicks to be some sort of toy, possibly a new type of live action squeek toy of some sort - so we are trying to get him to learn to leave them be and that they are not toys, or treats, or what ever it is he is thinking. We have him lay down and then give the "stay" command - while he is like that we let the chick on his back and have him sniff her, then praise him when done. It seems to be going well - today while we had the chicks in the yard and him on his lead he did attempt to "herd" them a little when they went towards to property line, which is what we wanted.
A terrier mix that loves to chase small animals combined with chickens sounds like good fencing will be your friend. My terrier loves the chickens. She loves chasing them, catching them and if given the chance would love killing them. I doubt training would be an option for my dog so management is the path I have chosen.
Yes I am thinking a fully enclosed dog kennel for the chickens with a top, is the only way to go, there are coyotes, cats, stray dogs, occasionally a mountain lion.
A terrier mix that loves to chase small animals combined with chickens sounds like good fencing will be your friend.  My terrier loves the chickens.  She loves chasing them, catching them and if given the chance would love killing them.  I doubt training would be an option for my dog so management is the path I have chosen.

I think that's the path we'll be taking too, he's 5 and has no manners lol so trying to train him to leave a little chicken alone would be useless.

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