Anyone have REAL free range chickens and a dog too?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by asnows, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. asnows

    asnows New Egg

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    Hello there! Long time lurker, don't post very often. Have 21 chickens on our suburban 14 acres, in good weather our chickens have free range of yard, garden, orchard, etc. Anyone have a free range flock compatible with a pet dog?
    Adopted the sweetest 1 yr. old rescue dog for trial period, one of the chickens got INTO his fenced acre, which he promptly retrieved and brought back to house. Chicken was fine, but we're freaking out about him bugging the chickens.
    Friends say they have dogs that don't bother their chickens, but their chickens are not out and about as much as ours are.
    Only had the dog 3 days, was introducing him to the chores and animals on a lead when this happened. Has his own area, but eventually our goal was to be able to have him off lead as we did chores.
    Anyone have any success stories with your dogs? Assume we'll have to get a puppy and raise with the chickens if we want a dog.
    Right now the doggie is headed back [​IMG] on Tuesday unless we can come up with some ideas. Thanks for your help! Snows.
     
  2. Fowl Visions

    Fowl Visions Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a five year old Florida Kerr dog and it took us a while to teach her not to kill chickens since she had previously done it at her previous home. But she did learn and now I let mine free-range and her run loose. We have had her over a year.
     
  3. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    [​IMG] my chickens free-range and the dog keeps the couch warm! [​IMG] The dog goes out now and then, but always with someone as we are not fully fenced.
    I have a Australian cattle dog - her instinct tells her to herd everyone into a grouping or where she thinks they should go. [​IMG] (she does that sometimes with the kids, or tries to!)
     
  4. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    My chickens used to free range all day long. My dog is a house dog, but he was trustworthy around them. My closest neighbor has a dog that was fine with them too, but that neighbor used to be a pheasant farmer and the dog was raised with pheasants and chickens. We have nasty neighbors that decided their Rhodesian Ridgebacks needed to roam, and their nasty dogs wiped out most of my flock. They are my only problem neighbors. As soon as their dogs are on my property again and I shoot them, the chickens will free range again.
     
  5. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, if your rescue dog just RETRIEVED the chicken that got into his area, didn't hurt her, and brought her to you, AND he's only a year old, you are already ahead of the game! I'd say he's a keeper. No dog, of any breed, whether raised with the chickens or not, should be left unattended with chickens at first (maybe not ever) but most are trainable. If you have some time to search this site, there are some really good training tips here. Our dogs were INTENSE about our chickens at first, and I spent some time with them on a leash, among the chickens, correcting the dogs when they acted too interested, etc. Now they wander around with the chickens all the time, mostly interested in eating their poop. I still wouldn't trust them alone with the chickens, but a hen has flown into our (dog) yard a number of times and they've been fine. And they are always out among the chickens in the pasture while I do chores, etc. and don't bother them at all. So don't give up on this guy, he sounds like a gem!
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  6. Pupsnpullets

    Pupsnpullets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine do it all the time. Been 10 years now with these particular dogs and have had no issues.
     
  7. Plain Old Dee

    Plain Old Dee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had a blue heeler several years ago, when we had our last flock of chickens. She never bothered them, except to steal babies. She stole every baby she could find. Chicken, rabbit, puppy, human... it didn't matter - if it was a baby, it was hers. She never hurt the babies - she loved babies. We never could convince her that baby chickens don't nurse!

    Currently, we have two dogs that have had little experience with chickens. We have had these dogs for a few years, but only just recently got chickens again. Our 75 lb boxer mix is terrified of them at the moment. We figure she'll get used to them once she gets tired of running from them. Our little Lhasa mix thinks he's a rottweiler - he runs up and barks like crazy at the chickens. They just give him the stinkeye, and if that doesn't work, he gets a peck on the head. Poor little guy hasn't learned to leave them alone, yet. However, we have a fenced back yard and don't plan on ever leaving the dogs around the chickens unsupervised.

    My daughter's two dogs - that's a different story. She keeps them chained up all the time, but they have still managed to kill several of her cats. I think that if they saw the chickens loose (and it will happen - I refuse to keep them in the henhouse forever) I think they will half strangle themselves trying to get to the chickens.

    You should be able to have free range chickens and your dog, too.
     
  8. twister

    twister Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i think it really depends on your dog. We are new to chicken keeping... have only had my lil flock a little over a year. We let them roam on 5 ac. We have 4 old dogs that are not interested in chasing or harming them ((( SO FAR ))). I have read on here, however, that a dog's natural instinct will come out no matter how well trained and that one day the free dog may decide to attack the entire flock, thus some people strongly urge pet owners to keep either dog or flock contained.
    So I think it is just a decision that you must make and understand the risks/consequences for every decision.

    edited to add: we do have an aggressive Roo who oversees his lil hens. He will stand up to a mildly concerned dog. HOWEVER.... he prob could not deter a more determined dog.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  9. lmblackburn

    lmblackburn Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a 6 year old Swiss Mnt dog and 10 free ranging chickens. This is our first year with chickens and our dog may run towards them but the chickens don't pay much attention to him. Mainly the dog is inside, but he does go out unsupervised without any issues. This summer he would just lay outside while the chickens wandered around him. He is a bit sluggish due to his size, so I doubt he'd be able to catch one.

    Sounds like you've got a dog with a soft mouth, with a little training I'm sure he'd do just fine!
     
  10. Countrywife

    Countrywife Corrupted by a Redneck

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    Chickens and dogs- there is no one breed that is better than another. It is simply the dog's temperment. I have kept chickens and german shephard, labrador and Great Pyrness. All of those are fine with the chickens. Rescued a Shephard/lab mix and she killed so many chickens I finally had to get rid of her. We removed her from the field, and she went over the hotwire/bob wire to kill chickens. It is usually the temperment of the dog, more than the specific breed.
     

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