Balancing my dogs with the chickens??


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 11, 2009
Benicia, CA
OK, so I am getting chicks for the first time in May. We have an 18 month old yellow lab (bird hunting dog) and a 15 year old brown dog that showed her ratting ability when she was younger and still tries to catch squirrels....well, it's now futile, but the hunt instinct is still there and I'm sure the chickens will be slow enough for her to either catch, injure or torment.

The coop and dog kennel are not in sight of each other.

I will need to manage my flock so that they are in the yard when the dogs are in their kennel. When I get home from work I have to let the dogs out to eat and socialize with the family, but I'll need to gather the roaming hens back into their run well before the sun goes down and before I release the hounds.

Is there a way to train the hens to come when I call them and get their chicken-butts back in their run to keep them safe from my dogs?


11 Years
Nov 8, 2008
Portage County, Ohio
Always give the same "call" when you bring them food of any kind, either regular feed or treats. Something like "chick, chick, chickies" or "chow time ladies" (my personal fave), or whatever works for you, in the same sing song tone of voice everytime... they'll get used to running for the goodies when they hear it and they'll head to you whenever you sing it out. It can be anything at all really, as long as it's distinctive enough and in the right tone. (You know... "It's sup~per time girls!" can have a double meaning if you have a cleaver in your hand!)

Hopefully your run is secure enough to lock them into (and the dogs out of) because it sounds like you have a real good assessment of your dogs.

They lab may be able to be taught that they are part of your 'family' and learn to ignore them, it sounds like you're probably right about the terrior mix though... it's obvious you definately plan on using caution with them both though which sounds smart.


11 Years
Jul 10, 2008
Collinsville, Oklahoma
We have a giant bright purple cup that we use to give scratch and you put a little in and shake it around they all know that means they are fixing to get scratch and we only give treats in their run. Which they have no problem running to since they love treats.

Their is a hound/retreiver mix outside that we have to put up before they can go out and have to let back out when they are done. She is young and loves catching oppossums, rabbits and mice.


11 Years
Jan 19, 2009
new zealand
seriously... why would you want the added work of separating them? Train your dogs to leave the chickens alone.

We have 3 dogs and they run with all the other animals here, they're fed on raw diet (includes raw chickens) but they know not to touch the live ones here.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 11, 2009
rustburg va
it is difficult and sometimes never achieved to train a dog not to kill chickens. i lost a whole flock to my dogs getting/digging into the pen once. these were the same dogs that would not touch them if i were outside with them. i never let them out unless i was out there to make sure none of the dogs messed with them. well, after the massacre i tightened up my fencing and also ran elecrtic wire around the bottom and about 2 ft up. it was very inexpensive and i did it myself. i also invested in a shock collar which i put on the dogs and if they even looked in that direction i hit it and lit them up!! things seem to be going well here now and all is happy. i love my dogs but cannot tolerate that killing of my chickens and guineas. hope this is somewhat helpful.


10 Years
Mar 23, 2009
My dog kills the jackrabbits, mice, whatever she can get her paws on.. AND at first both of my dogs tried to get my chickens when they fly out of the coop... BUT
I tought them both to leave the chickens alone. They know better and now when they are out wondering.. The dogs just sit and stare at them... it is so funny to watch!
It's easier to train your dogs to know they are family... Plus when the dogs see you interacting with the chickens, petting and holding them, feeding them... they will kind of get a hint...

Good luck!


In the Brooder
11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
Cary, NC
I have 12 chickens and 3 cats and 2 Australian Shepherds. If I didn't have our invisible fence for our dogs, they would chase the chickens and hurt them for sure. But the chickens are free ranging and have learned to stay on their side of the fence. So, although you may not be able to train the hunter out of the dog (unless you are Ceasar Milan!) - it seems that chickens know how to deal with the situation very well IF they have a place of refuge where the dogs can't go.

Oh, the cats and hens and Rooster all get along swimmingly.
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10 Years
Feb 12, 2009
It's sometimes difficult to train dogs to leave the chickens alone but by all means it is very possible. A lot of it depends on the age and breed of the dog and more importantly the handlers ability to train the dog properly. I have several German Shepherds that are schutzhund dogs with a very, very high prey drive. My dogs are out with the chickens every day and I had one instance on the very first day a couple years ago when they were introduced and never again.


11 Years
May 25, 2008
Monroe, wa
My call to my chickens is 'BABIES!' in a high pitched voice, or simply knocking on my window.

However, I don't seem to have an issue with my dogs, who think my chickens are family and should be protected.

My pit bull mix will chase a rat or an oppossum, or even a coon out of the yard, but she is the momma of my chickens. I made sure they realized that these are 'babies' and not just birds. I exposed them as they were chicks to them.

The only fight I have with my dogs and chickens is the contest to see who gets the most chicken scratch when i scatter it on the ground.


Ohh Faveroll, I think I like you already! GSD in the HOUSE!
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