Best Dog Breed for Chicken Protector

Drk_Wlf

Songster
10 Years
May 11, 2009
321
0
129
Chautauqua County, NY
Currently my chicken coop is in my backyard and because I have one outside dog that lives in a "doggie condo" (what my friends call it) right next to my coop I don't have any trouble with predator. Next year we are moving our chicken and ducks over to our 14 acre field where we have all our other animals and getting a bunch of Freedom Ranger meat birds. On one side is a housing development but the other side is brush/forested area. My father lives in the housing development, but we live about a half mile away so we wouldn’t be there to prevent or stop a predator attack if one happened. We plan on moving to the field within the next few years, but I need to figure out a way to protect my chickens from local cats, dogs, foxes, and the occasional coyote. I planned on getting a LGD as our herd of goats and sheep grows, but is there any breed that is especial good with chickens that I could raise and keep with them? Does anyone else protect their chickens in this way? No one in the neighborhood has lost any cats recently but every now and then a coyote or some other large predator will find its way to our area and the area cats will start disappearing, I just don't want this to happen to my chickens. I would like to free-range them and just close them in at night if possible. I know that a dog won’t help against hawks, but we rarely see them around here because all the crows tend to chase them off.
 

CMV

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
6,770
197
281
It is not a breed dependent thing. It's a "how you raise them" thing. Dogs are each individuals.
 

kla37

Songster
9 Years
Apr 18, 2010
2,162
30
173
Hillsborough, NC USA
I agree. I have an Irish Wheaten Terrier, and she leaves the chickens alone. I don't think she intends to look out for them, but her presence helps, at least. She WAS interested in them as chicks, but was never aggressive. We would put the on the floor in front of her, (she was on a short lead of course) and all she did was sniff like crazy and try to nudge them into a pile. Now that they are grown, she learned after a few pecks that they aren't something to mess with. Poor thing! Beat on by a bunch of birds. I thought since she is a terrier, she might not be good with them, but I think the way they move and act and smell is too different from the tiny little rodents she does catch once in awhile.
 

lilchick

Songster
11 Years
May 23, 2008
1,289
30
161
Williamsport In.
I have a jack russell who takes good care of my chickens.. He kills coons, possums and stray cats here on my farm. Over time he has learned not to kill squirrels and rabbits. Some days he will sleep in the corner of the coop and stay in there overnight to catch mice! My other dog is a rott mix from a rescue. She does not harm anything, just lays out in pasture and watches.. Her size and bark do keep the foxes away and Bodhi the jack russell will join her and chase it off.
The dogs will take their cue from you on what predators to take out. He even chases the low flying hawks across the yard and fields trying to get them! Hands down I love the jack russells.....Smart and loyal to the end.......
 

Drk_Wlf

Songster
10 Years
May 11, 2009
321
0
129
Chautauqua County, NY
Quote:
Dogs are dogs, each mutt may be an "individual" but certain breeds have been breed to bring out more basic instincts, herding dogs, hunting dogs, guard dogs, all have been bred over many generations to bring out those certain instincts.... I would not stick a hunting breed type dog in with a herd of goats because they are breed to hunt and so have a very high prey drive and even if raised with them they might one day turn on them. I have worked with dogs for years and over time have learned it is a mixture of nature and nurture, I love mutts for pets but for a guard dog I will pay the extra money to get one from a reputable breeder that is keeping the nature of the breed alive. Guard dogs are not really trained like herding or hunting dogs, they are raised with the animals they are to protect and you rely on their natural instincts to protect, those natural instincts are perfected through generations of selective breeding. Lets compair to chickens, some breeds do better in confinement then others, some tend to be more friendly, make better mothers and do better in colder climates. While there are exceptions these are all the things you consider when choosing what type of chicken is best for you, it is no different with dogs.
 

CMV

Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
6,770
197
281
Quote:
Dogs are dogs, each mutt may be an "individual" but certain breeds have been breed to bring out more basic instincts, herding dogs, hunting dogs, guard dogs, all have been bred over many generations to bring out those certain instincts.... I would not stick a hunting breed type dog in with a herd of goats because they are breed to hunt and so have a very high prey drive and even if raised with them they might one day turn on them. I have worked with dogs for years and over time have learned it is a mixture of nature and nurture, I love mutts for pets but for a guard dog I will pay the extra money to get one from a reputable breeder that is keeping the nature of the breed alive. Guard dogs are not really trained like herding or hunting dogs, they are raised with the animals they are to protect and you rely on their natural instincts to protect, those natural instincts are perfected through generations of selective breeding. Lets compair to chickens, some breeds do better in confinement then others, some tend to be more friendly, make better mothers and do better in colder climates. While there are exceptions these are all the things you consider when choosing what type of chicken is best for you, it is no different with dogs.

Yeah, but there have been stories on here about LGDs who came from perfect lines of protectors being chicken killers. It really doesn't matter what breed you get. It's all in how you raise the dog and the dog's overall temperament.
ETA- I have 2 dogs- a formerly feral, rescue, Shepherd cross and a Bernese Mountain Dog. I'd trust the shepherd before I'd trust the BMD.
 
Last edited:

matthewschickens

~Rooster~
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
3,223
19
191
God has placed me in Virginia.
Yes. Border Collies are the way to go. They'll chase off anything and our female loves the chickens and watches them carefully. The only problem is that they'll get bored.. Even with our 63 chickens they get bored. They need lots of work. They love work!

Also, I would like to recommend geese and a rooster. Roosters will watch the sky for hawks and alert.
Geese will watch the ground. Will alert you and if needed will attack.. But sometimes you're the target.
 

matthewschickens

~Rooster~
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
3,223
19
191
God has placed me in Virginia.
Quote:
Dogs are dogs, each mutt may be an "individual" but certain breeds have been breed to bring out more basic instincts, herding dogs, hunting dogs, guard dogs, all have been bred over many generations to bring out those certain instincts.... I would not stick a hunting breed type dog in with a herd of goats because they are breed to hunt and so have a very high prey drive and even if raised with them they might one day turn on them. I have worked with dogs for years and over time have learned it is a mixture of nature and nurture, I love mutts for pets but for a guard dog I will pay the extra money to get one from a reputable breeder that is keeping the nature of the breed alive. Guard dogs are not really trained like herding or hunting dogs, they are raised with the animals they are to protect and you rely on their natural instincts to protect, those natural instincts are perfected through generations of selective breeding. Lets compair to chickens, some breeds do better in confinement then others, some tend to be more friendly, make better mothers and do better in colder climates. While there are exceptions these are all the things you consider when choosing what type of chicken is best for you, it is no different with dogs.

Yeah, but there have been stories on here about LGDs who came from perfect lines of protectors being chicken killers. It really doesn't matter what breed you get. It's all in how you raise the dog and the dog's overall temperament.

I think it matters... You want a good dog but you also have to train it right. Both factors are important.
 

Tdub4chiks

Songster
9 Years
Jul 8, 2010
556
2
121
Constantia, NY
Then you'd have to find a dog that can handle NY weather. It gets mighty cold here. I don't think any short haired dog could handle this. I don't believe in leaving dogs outside at night anyway, but that's me.
 

Melinda35

Songster
9 Years
Oct 1, 2010
193
11
101
Texas
I have a full blooded rott and a pit bull mix. My rott kills cats and my pit bull kills snakes, coons and other animals that are not supposed to be around the house. Neither one has touched a chicken. My rott actually helps herd them back into their pen when they get out. I believe it is all in how you raise them. My dogs don't take kindly to strangers especially when my children are around. I believe they see us interact with the chickens and know that it is okay so they leave them alone.

I would think that whatever dog you put out there with your chickens you need to have that dog with you know to teach the dog how you want it to behave.
 

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