Already have the dogs--can I add chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by mrsteiner, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. mrsteiner

    mrsteiner Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2011
    Davison, MI
    I'm new to this forum and planning to free-range a few layers and broilers this spring. My questions is this: I have two curious boxers (male & female) that have full run of my ten acres. They are not hunters and are generally protective of their space when human/animal intruders come around. They aren't hunters, and are pretty trainable so I think I can teach them to guard rather than chase the birds. Am I asking for trouble? Do all dogs naturally want to eat chicken?
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j True BYC Addict

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    There are some here that will tell you that ALL dogs naturally want to eat your chickens. I disagree. I would, however, strongly suggest that you spent ALOT of time working with your dogs and getting them used to your chickens well before you let them free-range. I also would not leave them unsupervised for awhile. There are stories on here about dogs that were thought to be 100% trustworthy that killed their owners' chickens. Good luck, I hope it all works out for you.
  3. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    You have to work with your dogs and train them to leave the poultry alone. Of course young dogs will take the training quicker than older dogs and a calm natured dog would be better than a high strung dog but it can be done. We even have one of those vicious evil killer Pit Bulls and she has never mauled a chicken..... well unless it came off the grill with BBQ sauce on it. [​IMG]

  4. madimorg

    madimorg Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2010
    Central Ohio
    Quote:I have a German Shepherd who was 2.5 years old when I got my baby chicks. He is perfect with them and when they are free ranging he really doesn't pay any attention to them. For the longest time I wouldn't allow him outside with the chickens unless I was also outside with him but now I don’t have the worry. One day I was outside with the dog and had given him a treat bone to chew on... I looked over and my Australorp was beak to mouth with him eating off of the same bone. I wish I'd gotten a picture. I stood guard closely that time just to keep an eye on things and even then we had no issues. My dog though is very good and keeps guard over his cats also... I think he just naturally thinks his job is to protect all creatures of ours and is very gentle. I've seen him get highly upset at another dog that a friend brought over when their dog would get too close to our cats. Now I still won’t leave him and the chickens out all day when I'm at work; maybe as time goes on I'll continue to put more trust into him. For now they are only together running free when I'm home after work or on the weekends.
  5. BitsyB

    BitsyB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2010
    Northern Delaware
    mrsteiner- Welcome to BYC! [​IMG] The most helpful website in the world, at least IMHO

    As others have said it so depends on the individual dog, my Autralian Shepherd loves our chickens and is their self appointed guardian (although if they get too close while he's eating he gives them a "back off" growl). My sister's German Shepherds have killed many an animal, so (obviously) I won't let them in my yard.

    Quote:And then here's a German Shepherd who shares his treats with chickens! What a nice dog.

    If I had 10 acres, and enough money, I'd make an area for the chickens with that electified movable fencing. I'm not sure how expensive it is, but it seems like it'd be a good solution for your chickens to be able to pasture when you are not able to be out there to watch and make sure the dogs don't decide to see what these interesting fluffy things taste like after all. Since you have 2, if one gets the idea to go after a chicken the other will probably join in, the "pack mentality". I'm pretty sure that's why my sister's shepherds are really into hunting animals. You know, like with kids- what one doesn't think of the other one will!
  6. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    Generally speaking, any hunting dog isn't a good idea to have with chickens. Are your dogs obedience trained? AKC Good Citizen? Received any kind of verbal recall training, etc? Every Boxer I've known loves to chase small animals, from cats to squirrels, rabbits, etc. so I'm very leery. Can you build a very stout fence to keep them from the chickens from the get-go?

    That said, I have hound dogs, specifically Basset Hounds. Fortunately, both are extremely passive and have never given us any problems on our hobby farm - we have cats, rabbits, ducks and chickens. So incredibly passive that they groom and nap with the barncat, allow the chickens and ducks to eat their kibble and can't be bothered to chase except each other. We had the farm critters prior to rescuing these two, so they came in understanding the poultry is in charge. We continue to reinforce that by always feeding the birds and bunnies before feeding the dogs. We adopted very specific individuals within the breed, which is why I believe this has worked for us.

    One of the Bassets is such a chucklkehead at hunting, that he nannies all our baby bunnies, duckies and chicks.


    See what I mean?
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  7. CDennis

    CDennis Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2009
    Depends on the dog. I have one that is fine, I have another one (hunting breed) that gets to walk on a leash and is never supervised outside. I think generally, yes they can live together. But their are exceptions just as cats and dogs.
  8. Higins00

    Higins00 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    I beleive 95% of dogs can be trained to live with all animals. My boxer will kill a possum or skunk but will not touch our rabbit, hamster, birds, and chickens
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Ditto that. I find it is easier to have the dog first and then get the chickens than the other way around.
  10. ginormous chicken

    ginormous chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2011
    Elverta, California
    Generally speaking, any hunting dog isn't a good idea to have with chickens. Are your dogs obedience trained? AKC Good Citizen? Received any kind of verbal recall training, etc? Every Boxer I've known loves to chase small animals, from cats to squirrels, rabbits, etc. so I'm very leery. Can you build a very stout fence to keep them from the chickens from the get-go?

    I have 3 dogs and 8 chickens!! I can be done. However, 1 of my dogs ( note below) is my Service Dog and trained to the hilt. I have a yellow lab that we call BYD stand for BIG YELLOW DOG and a shih tzu. If your dog know basic obedience and you spend a lot of time discouraging it from chasing chickens. You should be fine. It isn't magic, a person has to work with the dog. My dogs know that they are not to follow, chase, snoop at, walk around, smell, make faces, or really even LOOK at the [​IMG]!!!!!! It took my yellow lab. some work, but he got the picture and he loves [​IMG] retrieving.

    Of course, I have a couple friends who have crazy hunting labs. who will bring the chicken to you. They are bred to retrieve and are gun dogs. Chickens really wouldn't work for them. I mean, the spend their falls chasing ducks, and phesants, this would be contrary. Yeah... I tell those friends to please, for my girls sake, leave their dogs at home [​IMG] !!!
    It can work!!!

    Ok Higin00 that is pretty dang cute! You too TrystInn!!​
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011

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