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

MallardBay

In the Brooder
Nov 21, 2020
13
19
23
I didn’t read all the replies—it seems like people have very strong opinions and great advice already. But for what it’s worth, I have two dogs who operate very differently around the chickens and I’ve done nothing differently with either of them.

When we first adopted our chicks, we had (and still have) two 11 year old dogs—a black lab and a long hair chihuahua. Predictably the chihuahua wanted the chicks and now chickens as chew toys, but he’s so little he’s easy to control and contain. The black lab was interested but mostly indifferent and now the chickens could sit on top of him and he wouldn’t bat an eye. He does love to break into their run and steal their snacks, though.

The chihuahua did spook the chickens a little as pullets, resulting in some frantic flying and jail breaks. They weren’t used to the abrupt sudden movement of a yapping tiny dog.

Now that the chickens are older, they’ve gotten used to both dogs—they’ll free range with the lab and when the chihuahua comes over to bark at them when they are in their run they ignore him. I’ve got a couple good videos of the rooster and the chihuahua in a staring contest through the fence. He goes out there now at night to make sure they are in their coop, not because he’s guarding them but because he’s intensely interested in where his archenemies are at all times.

All that is to say is that based on ONLMY experience I would:

1) adopt a very friendly breed as a puppy but be incredibly cautious with its energy around the chickens before you let them hang out together

2) adopt an older dog with a history of a great docile personality that is used to babies or kids or other small animals

3) adopt a tiny dog that is very easy to control even if it hates the chickens

Finally, I’d like to always have at least one dog with chickens. I do feel better about predators having the dogs in the yard even some of the time.
 

Indy Chickn People

In the Brooder
May 28, 2018
3
1
18
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?
My Saint Bernard is great with my six chickens, She will even bark at hawks when they come around. Get a laid back dog, not a hunter ...like a Husky...they will kill an entire flock just for fun.
 

bill3607

Chirping
Aug 24, 2020
103
376
80
Alabama
Dogs are like people in that they can be similar to each other in a lot of ways but still very different in so many more. I do not have a lot of experience with chickens yet, but a fairly good amount with dogs and training them. I think you will do better with an highly intelligent breed of dog. Once a highly intelligent breed of dog knows what is expected of him/her that is what you will get as long as you know how to get it across in the proper way. I had a Brittany, which are not aggressive dogs, but still a hunter (of birds) and very, very high strung, but also very, very intelligent. She is passed on now but if I told her no to the chickens, then that would be what I would get immediately and it would not be long before they would be able to roost on her back if they wanted. I did not have chickens when she was alive, but plenty of other small animals. I have a pet tom cat now that sure misses sleeping on her back.
 

docteurmccoy

Songster
Nov 23, 2020
311
1,339
133
My Coop
I haven't read through all of the comments but I'm assuming I'm not adding anything that hasn't been said already so forgive me. I would say it obviously depends on the dog breed, and more importantly just the dog individually.

I have a beagle, basset, jack russell terrier mix and he does fine with the chickens now but we used the shock collar method. He can be left out unsupervised all of the time now and has been able to be for years, our chickens are free range. Dogs can be trained, remember that, and remember it is their natural instinct, some dogs having a stronger one than others and perhaps may be pretty much impossible to train. Here's some photos of mine for proof and enjoyment. Best of luck :)

View attachment 2472030 View attachment 2472036 View attachment 2472027
Sorry but I just had to post these photos I came across. I was meaning to post them before when I initially replied but forgot to. I think these are a great show of how great he is with them

44.jpg
4.jpg
 

RiverOtter

Crowing
Nov 4, 2009
991
1,379
301
NY
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!
Rude much? If you don't want other people's opinions, stay off the internet. I was polite, as you presented your opinion as indisputable fact over and over. This response above = not polite.

You blame the dogs. We get it. Repeat it some more, why don't you? Tell us all again which dogs are impossible to own, we all must have skipped your opinion the first 5 times...
 

Thomas70

Chirping
Mar 18, 2017
66
80
91
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?
Big dogs such as labs no, lapdogs yes. I have 2 miniature schnauzers and they don't bother the chickens. They and the chicken alike walk around and don't pay each other any attention.
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Sep 29, 2014
7,119
19,742
871
New Zealand
Big dogs such as labs no, lapdogs yes. I have 2 miniature schnauzers and they don't bother the chickens. They and the chicken alike walk around and don't pay each other any attention.
Labs are one of the easiest dogs to train which is why they are such a popular pet. Our Labx wouldn't hurt a fly, but pull out a toy for a game of tug or fetch and she's all business.

Schnauzers were traditionally bred to hunt and kill rodents so they potentially could be a challenge to keep with chickens but it sounds like you got a pair of sweeties. 💗
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Sep 29, 2014
7,119
19,742
871
New Zealand
Absolutely not
Our dog currently has to share her kennel with a young duck and a tiny bantam hen who raised the duck. They moved in and our dog is too sweet to put up a protest. 🤣 I must get around to reintegrating the hen with her old flock, and the duck with the ducks so the poor mutt can have her house back.
 

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