Can a dog and chickens safely coexist in a small backyard?

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
12,113
44,529
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SE Missouri, USA
There are not one, but two people on this thread who have trained dogs professionally saying it's easy, you just have to know how.
"Easy," of course being a relative term. That dentist went to school for many years to learn how to do that extraction, and a dog trainer only makes it look easy, having studied and practiced and rejected many theories of training. Then they have to train the owner, who has to actually listen and put those techniques into practice to get the desired results. 😉
 

Dbendell

Chirping
Dec 26, 2017
17
30
69
I did a quick google search on beagles. They were bred for hunting. So that breed is likely to have a high prey drive and probably not the best with chickens. All the training in the world isn't going to remove the inherent traits of the breed.
If you adopt from an animal shelter or rescue group, you could tell the adoption counselor that you want a breed that will do well with chickens and they can make suggestions. Or you could look to adopt a dog that has already lived in harmony with chickens.
There's no reason to up on the idea of having a dog, as long as you choose the right dog.
 

Rosebud25

Songster
5 Years
Aug 23, 2015
33
68
109
It is not so much a matter of time as it is a matter of KNOWLEDGE. If a person does not know how to train their dog, they need to put themselves in the hands of someone who does. Either get a good book on dog training like one from Richard A. Wolters or the Monks of New Skete, or hire a professional or get into a class.
The person is looking to get their first dog and requested an opinion. I gave mine based on my experience. I don't need or want your KNOW IT ALL OPINION!
 

Rosebud25

Songster
5 Years
Aug 23, 2015
33
68
109
Please read this in the kindest tone possible.
Just because you didn't know how to do it years ago, doesn't mean that it cannot be done.
Or even that it is hard - it just means that years ago, you didn't know how to do it. There are not one, but two people on this thread who have trained dogs professionally saying it's easy, you just have to know how.

I don't know how to pull a broken molar - my dentist did it in literally two seconds flat. I was stunned, but there's a trick to most everything, and no shame in not being born knowing it. We all have to learn,
I have trained my own dogs for well over 30 years. I get compliments all the time on how well mannered my dogs are. I have taught my dogs to leave my chickens, ducks and baby goats alone. The Cockers I had years ago had a very high prey drive and they could never be trusted near any chickens. A hunter friend of mine has had Brittany Spaniels his entire life and his dogs will kill his chicken too. I gave my opinion based on my experience. The person was asking for an opinion on getting their first dog. Why make it harder on them? For a first dog they will be much happier with one that doesn't have the instinct to go after birds.
 

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BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
12,113
44,529
1,047
SE Missouri, USA
The person is looking to get their first dog and requested an opinion. I gave mine based on my experience. I don't need or want your KNOW IT ALL OPINION!
Y'know .... I didn't say or do anything different than you did. My comments were also based on 15+ years of dog training at a local community college. I usually offered one six-week class per period, open to ten students and their dogs. By popular demand, I always ended up teaching three groups a session due to overflow demand. Local veterinarians sent their clients to me based on results they saw in other clients. Again, I apologize that my comments offended you, but I stand by them. IMO, OP would benefit from reading the books I suggested. My comments were aimed at them, not you.
 

Lynn Woehrle

Chirping
Jan 8, 2016
39
78
99
We have five dogs. Border Collie, small Aussie, mixed German Shepherd/ Bull Mastiff, Dingo/Rottweiler and they were all raised with chickens and we have never had a problem with them and our chickens. They also keep hawks and other birds away. Not sure about adopting a mature new dog. You'd really have to be with the dog for awhile before leaving them alone with your chickens.
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
12,113
44,529
1,047
SE Missouri, USA
We have five dogs. Border Collie, small Aussie, mixed German Shepherd/ Bull Mastiff, Dingo/Rottweiler and they were all raised with chickens and we have never had a problem with them and our chickens. They also keep hawks and other birds away. Not sure about adopting a mature new dog. You'd really have to be with the dog for awhile before leaving them alone with your chickens.
That's awesome! Good job! ❤
 

BallsEleven

Chirping
Dec 12, 2019
97
131
88
South Louisiana
No one can tell you for sure, just give you their own experiences.

I have a doberman/boxer mix. It took one afternoon to get him to leave the girls alone but he doesn't have a big prey drive unless a cat is darting down the street.

If he and the girls are out together I keep a close eye on him and always have the shock collar on just in case. I haven't had to use it yet though.
 

mellen

Hatching
Jan 5, 2021
1
1
5
So my dilemma is this. I really want to adopt a dog, but I own three pet chickens I am very attached to. I worry that no matter how careful I am, any dog I adopt is going to eventually get loose and eat my chickens. Do you think dog and chicken can coexist in a small backyard? I'd love to hear about other peoples experiences and opinions.

Here's some background on our situation. Our yard is a small, fenced lot (less than .25 acres). My chickens have a good size run, but frequently free-range the backyard when I am around to watch them. The dog I am looking to adopt is a 2 year old beagle. My husband (also very attached to the chickens) tells me to adopt a cat instead, just to be safe. I like cats but I LOVE dogs. Can a dog be trained to tolerate chickens?



Hi there!

I think this is ultimately a decision you will come to on your own but I will give you some of my story for context. I got 3 chicks in May and raised them in my house but separate from my 13 year old chihuahua mix. As they got older I tried to introduce them in a controlled environment and have them adjust to one another. My dog displayed predatory instincts almost immediately: stiff, intense eye contact, shaking.

A few months later he got out of the house while our pullets were free-ranging and attacked one and she did not survive. When we were down to two chickens, the same thing happened while my parents were watching the chickens. I must say the saddest part was watching my final chicken Pom Pom and how distressed she was in the time span before we got a new group of chickens. It was devastating....even after having learned a very hard lesson the first time, it only takes a simple moment of forgetfulness to to have something go wrong. Three chickens is also a very vulnerable number and in my experience theres nothing worse than having a single chicken, they are such herd creatures.

We now have three chickens and our dog but things are very closely monitored. They have a run but I still let them free range a lot because the chickens love it so much. I'm very attached to my chickens and my dog but it is always a bit stressful with the thought of something happening again. Even with a 10 pound chihuahua the predator instinct is so strong....something to keep in mind. Best of luck to you
 

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