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

tripletfeb

Crowing
Jun 9, 2018
1,179
4,044
306
The little farm, northern Ohio
I have a 10 month old weimaraner. He has been raised around my chickens and will leave them alone on my command. However, I will never have the chickens free ranging when the pup is outside without me. I trained him very well but he is a hunting dog and I must respect that. So, when he is outside, the chickens are safely in their run. When the chickens are free ranging, he goes out the front to potty, not in the backyard. Common sense with any dog and proper training and I believe you will be fine. Good luck!
 

Liz Birdlover

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Jan 6, 2018
730
2,341
226
Delaware, USA
I couldn't let my pit bull anywhere near my chickens. When she died, we rescued an adult rat terrier who thinks she is a rooster. Just lucky!

I wouldn't be as discouraging as many of these folks. Most rescues will let you return a dog that doesn't work out and you would know pretty quickly. Try a toy companion type dog ...
I was honest with the rescue, the dog I got from them was showing some aggressive mannerisms like wanting to chase with fur up on the back...other dogs, cats, rabbits & my chickens...as she was on a lead, actual physical contact was not possible. The rescue said due to that behavior they'd euthanize her if I returned her! So here I am 2 yrs later still looking for a good home for an adult mix breed, housebroken and crate trained, friendly with people but not other animals.
My chickens are in safe enclosures as I have foxes, raccoons & hawks in my yard daily, but I can never free range here again, which sucks. I wish I could afford to fence in my yard perimeter & do it properly to prevent digging under, as the dog does chase off predators, but I can never trust her to be with my flock. It really does depend upon the individual personality of the dog. For 14 yrs previously I had the most wonderful, gentle 130 lb Rottweiler, I raised as a pup, she'd even let Cockatiels land on her & preen her. I raised her calmly, hugged her alot, took her to classes so she'd still pay attention to me in the presence of other dogs. She was 1 in a zillion, how I miss her! The dog I rescued was already an adult, calm while at the rescue. Well yeah, she's still calm as long as she's in her crate! Outside of her crate she's a clumsy bull in a China shop & not trustworthy at all, in the house or outside. She only listens while on a leash. She's abt 7 yrs old & really good on leash, but I can't watch a dog 24/7 while doing chores, can't even have her out on 100 ft cable system unsupervised as she got sick eating fox crap. In the house,, in the same room on a dog bed with a bone, I can't even leave the room or she eats any trash basket contents. Unfortunately, she's not a good fit here & it's not easy trying to find a good home for a dog these days. Some dogs would just do best as the only pet with a fenced yard. Even raising a pup with birds is no guarantee they'd get along, but I think the odds would be better than trying an adult. I am not trying to discourage anyone from trying, many people have had good luck and good results, I just want to make you aware that not all adoption agencies will take a dog back once they hear there is any kind of aggressive behaviour, even though an actual attack or fight never took place. It has been a real pain in the wazoo, trying to do the juggling act here for 2 years now. It's an extra hour or 2 of time every day that I really can't afford to spare, going back-and-forth spending every moment with this dog while she is outside, but she needs her exercise so that is what I have to do. Many rescues will let you do a meet and greet ahead of time but usually that involves cats or dogs, not chickens, and if you are going to bring a chicken to rescue with a 100 other barking dogs it's going to be very difficult anyway, if they even let you bring a chicken. I know I wanted to give an adult dog a good home, it is a very good idea to rescue a dog that's already out there needing a loving home, but going forward, I'd get a pup like I did before, as well stick with a breed that I am extremely familiar with, a gentle giant breed. I haven't read through all of the numerous posts here so I hope I'm not repeating, nor do I wish to insult anyone, just sharing what I've gone through. Best of luck to you with whatever you decide.
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Sep 29, 2014
7,119
19,742
871
New Zealand
I was honest with the rescue, the dog I got from them was showing some aggressive mannerisms like wanting to chase with fur up on the back...other dogs, cats, rabbits & my chickens...as she was on a lead, actual physical contact was not possible. The rescue said due to that behavior they'd euthanize her if I returned her! So here I am 2 yrs later still looking for a good home for an adult mix breed, housebroken and crate trained, friendly with people but not other animals.
My chickens are in safe enclosures as I have foxes, raccoons & hawks in my yard daily, but I can never free range here again, which sucks. I wish I could afford to fence in my yard perimeter & do it properly to prevent digging under, as the dog does chase off predators, but I can never trust her to be with my flock. It really does depend upon the individual personality of the dog. For 14 yrs previously I had the most wonderful, gentle 130 lb Rottweiler, I raised as a pup, she'd even let Cockatiels land on her & preen her. I raised her calmly, hugged her alot, took her to classes so she'd still pay attention to me in the presence of other dogs. She was 1 in a zillion, how I miss her! The dog I rescued was already an adult, calm while at the rescue. Well yeah, she's still calm as long as she's in her crate! Outside of her crate she's a clumsy bull in a China shop & not trustworthy at all, in the house or outside. She only listens while on a leash. She's abt 7 yrs old & really good on leash, but I can't watch a dog 24/7 while doing chores, can't even have her out on 100 ft cable system unsupervised as she got sick eating fox crap. In the house,, in the same room on a dog bed with a bone, I can't even leave the room or she eats any trash basket contents. Unfortunately, she's not a good fit here & it's not easy trying to find a good home for a dog these days. Some dogs would just do best as the only pet with a fenced yard. Even raising a pup with birds is no guarantee they'd get along, but I think the odds would be better than trying an adult. I am not trying to discourage anyone from trying, many people have had good luck and good results, I just want to make you aware that not all adoption agencies will take a dog back once they hear there is any kind of aggressive behaviour, even though an actual attack or fight never took place. It has been a real pain in the wazoo, trying to do the juggling act here for 2 years now. It's an extra hour or 2 of time every day that I really can't afford to spare, going back-and-forth spending every moment with this dog while she is outside, but she needs her exercise so that is what I have to do. Many rescues will let you do a meet and greet ahead of time but usually that involves cats or dogs, not chickens, and if you are going to bring a chicken to rescue with a 100 other barking dogs it's going to be very difficult anyway, if they even let you bring a chicken. I know I wanted to give an adult dog a good home, it is a very good idea to rescue a dog that's already out there needing a loving home, but going forward, I'd get a pup like I did before, as well stick with a breed that I am extremely familiar with, a gentle giant breed. I haven't read through all of the numerous posts here so I hope I'm not repeating, nor do I wish to insult anyone, just sharing what I've gone through. Best of luck to you with whatever you decide.
I think you are a Saint for continuing with a difficult dog. :hugs Surely the rescue should have had her personality assessed before she was ever offered up for adoption?!

There are some dog trainers on here who might be able to give you some advice so hopefully they'll reply.

As much as I like the idea of rescuing an adult dog, and as much as I did not enjoy the puppy phase with our own dog, because we have so many critters I know we will have to get a puppy when we are ready for another dog. We were very lucky with our dog who came from a rescue organisation as a puppy, but I'd be tempted to go for a pure breed next time too as then you can be guaranteed certain personality traits, and a good breeder knows the personality of her pups, so you get the best dog for your situation.
 

Liz Birdlover

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Jan 6, 2018
730
2,341
226
Delaware, USA
I think you are a Saint for continuing with a difficult dog. :hugs Surely the rescue should have had her personality assessed before she was ever offered up for adoption?!

There are some dog trainers on here who might be able to give you some advice so hopefully they'll reply.

As much as I like the idea of rescuing an adult dog, and as much as I did not enjoy the puppy phase with our own dog, because we have so many critters I know we will have to get a puppy when we are ready for another dog. We were very lucky with our dog who came from a rescue organisation as a puppy, but I'd be tempted to go for a pure breed next time too as then you can be guaranteed certain personality traits, and a good breeder knows the personality of her pups, so you get the best dog for your situation.
I found out the rescue only had her a few days. I've taken her to Tractor Supply vet care, so we are in line with other dogs spaced out. I keep her close to me so she's OK but I've never tried letting her interact closely. 1 time a friend brought their dog over, we were going to visit a dog park. Their male was sweet but 20 feet away yet, this dog's fur went up on her back & she pulled me very strong, didn't seem like a good idea so nope, no doggie buddy there. It's a shame. Well, I have a meet & greet with another rescue tomorrow. See how it goes.
 

[email protected]

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2017
4
10
29
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?
I think it depends on the breed of dog, the time available to train the dog, and luck.

I originally wanted chickens to help control the insects in my yard which were destroying my vegetable garden (I’ll save that for another post - lol). I was given a small flock of 3 birds about 5 years ago by a super-generous friend who built my coop (also worth a separate post). At the time I had a 5 year old herding mix and a 1 year old Australian Shepard mix, both of which I adopted from the humane society. I’m a teacher and I got the chickens a few days before school started in August.

Within minutes of me leaving the house for the first day of school, my young dog tunneled under the coop and was running around the back yard with a full-grown barred rock in her mouth. Luckily, my niece was there and after a few exciting minutes she managed to separate the dogs and chickens. Thankfully, the chicken was unharmed.

And now? My chickens free-range in my back yard unsupervised with those same dogs every day. In fact, here in my Albuquerque neighborhood, we have foxes, hawks, bobcats, and coyotes which occasionally show up in people’s yards. So, I actually feel my chickens are safer when my dogs are outside with them.

How did I manage this? Part luck - my older dog had zero interest in chasing the chickens. Training - my dogs are not well-trained by AKC standards. I don’t even trust them to not run off if unleashed. What I did do was put a long 20’ leash on my younger dog and walked her around the backyard when the chickens were out. I rewarded her when she returned to me when called (especially if she was zeroed in on the chicken action). I sat outside with her while leashed (30 minutes at a time for 1-3 weeks). Eventually. I released the leash and sat outside with her. If she chased the chickens, I picked up the leash and called her. Oftentimes, the leash would wrap around posts, trees, and furniture just enough to slow her down. At some point- she just lost interest in chasing them.

I do think the breed has a lot to do with it. My dogs are pretty smart and not overly stubborn. I don’t think I would have had luck with a beagle or a terrier. But who knows. I would be interested in hearing other people’s success stories on this topic.

Good luck!
 

Frank Hengels

In the Brooder
Oct 11, 2020
16
25
33
I have an ex racing greyhound who is 9 and I introduced her to my 2 girls about 3 years ago
Chooks were here a few weeks before I had fences fixed for the dog and only took a short time to teach her they were friends not food
Now the girls walk all over her (literally)
View attachment 2472101
I love the photo it is great fun to watch a dog and chickens together.
 

julai

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2020
2
12
21
When we got our 12 Wyandottes in the Covid spring, we had 2 australian shepherds and 3 barn cats. I was very concerned about the dogs and the cats originally. My husband and I sat outside with the dogs and the cats intitally (maybe 4 or so weeks when we let the chicks free range). Now everyone gets along and we let the chickens out at around 1030 am and put them in the Run about 30 minutes prior to dark (about 330p in Janurary). So as the people above have said, it's probably an individual thing, but our animals are all doing great!
 

Onechicktwochickthree

In the Brooder
Jul 16, 2020
26
43
44
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?
I have a very nasty dog (she's not mine she's my partners so I guess she's mine too) she has bitten me before she always snaps and snarls...she's never once tried to chase a chicken or a rabbit

Then I have my Boston Terrier he's fantastic. The chickens peck him and he runs away. He tries to play and runs around like a lunatic but he has NEVER ever tried to harm them. We raised him from a puppy he's not even 1 yet (come to think of it...I think I just missed his birthday!!!)

He never saw a chicken before until I literally left him by the open door as I went out to deal with them. I tried to get him to go outside but he was too afraid. He's the softest thing ever.

I used to have a guard dog; would even guard the chickens.


It's very possible. It all depends on the dog
 

Onechicktwochickthree

In the Brooder
Jul 16, 2020
26
43
44
When we got our 12 Wyandottes in the Covid spring, we had 2 australian shepherds and 3 barn cats. I was very concerned about the dogs and the cats originally. My husband and I sat outside with the dogs and the cats intitally (maybe 4 or so weeks when we let the chicks free range). Now everyone gets along and we let the chickens out at around 1030 am and put them in the Run about 30 minutes prior to dark (about 330p in Janurary). So as the people above have said, it's probably an individual thing, but our animals are all doing great!
My neighbour kept panicking about her cats hurting my chickens; the chickens are more harmful to the cats and the cats chase other predators away. Most animals understand family
 

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