Chiackens and dogs

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by khowell31875, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. khowell31875

    khowell31875 In the Brooder

    Jul 7, 2008
    I am getting ready to buy 4 or 5 chicks to raise for eggs. I currently have 2 dogs, a lab and a terrier mix. Is there anything anyone can suggest as to socialize them so the dogs won't chase the chickens or agitate them. I will have a coop and fenced run for them so them, but I don't want the dogs to go to the fence and bark constantly. Thanks.
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Well first - never, ever trust your dogs with your chickens. Very few dogs are truly safe around chickens. Your lab might be Ok (key word = might) but your terrier is almost certainly going to want those birds.

    Ok - starting from day one don't allow any aggressive or too interested behavior from your dogs toward the chicks. Keep on your dogs any time they show too much interest by telling them something like "leave it" and demand they respect that order.

    If you need something stronger to 'get their attention' and you aren't personally against it you could use a shock collar, a airsoft gun (those work only on short haired dogs - long haired dogs don't even feel it) or some such thing that will get their attention but not do serious harm to the dog.

    Good luck.
  3. caddyeldorado2006

    caddyeldorado2006 In the Brooder

    first one by one introduce them. and when they get near them take a fly squatter and hit their butt with it and tell them no. but this is one dog at a time. trust me i have 3 big ones, and neither of them chase them anymore, and they are content around my chickens now.
  4. happyhen

    happyhen Songster

    May 8, 2008
    Northeastern Ohio
    I agree with Chirpy, but I also let my dog watch me feed, water and care for the girls to let him know they were part of the family, like the kids and the cat. We did borrow a training collar for a weekend and used it when he broke the "sit/stay".

    He now is very protective of the chickens, including "marking" around the coop first thing every morning and last thing at night.
  5. Eliz

    Eliz Songster

    May 16, 2008
    I agree with everyone else, don't 100% trust them. With traning and work your dogs M-I-G-H-T treat them as one of the family members.

    I have two dogs, a 115lbs pit bull and a boxer that is about 90lb. Both very high energy dogs!

    They both love and sleep with my cat,but would kill any other cat that comes around.

    When I first brought home my 2 week old sex links I would let them smell them and see them. And with some work and training the sex links(now around 7wks) and the cat and the dogs all lay together on the back porch! I will have to try to get a picture of them all if I can.

    But I still don't trust the dogs 100% and constantly check on the chicks while free ranging!!!!

    Good luck!
  6. Eliz

    Eliz Songster

    May 16, 2008
    Well I just went out to check on everyone and this is what I seen.


    It's not everyone but this is the dog I thought could never get along with anything!
  7. xanaxnation

    xanaxnation Songster

    Apr 8, 2008
    i have a 3yo pug female that raised our foster kittens, nursing them, cleaning them, etc... so i didnt think there would be an issue with the chickens.. but from day 1 she's whined at the door when they were inside and now that theyre out in the coop she runs outside full speed almost crashing in to the coop and scares them. they dont pay attention to her any more i guess theyve finally realized that she cant get them through the fence.. but i really didnt expect that kind of prey instinct from her. i think we have to remember that dogs are animals, and while they may listen to you, respect you, etc.... deep down their instinct is to catch and kill prey.. maybe even to give to you (like how our cats are sweet enough to bring us dead birds, etc). best wishes
  8. brandywine

    brandywine Songster

    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    No chicken expert, but I am a dog trainer, don't just play one on teevee. And I own and breed a kind of farm dog that routinely lives on diversified farms with free-range poultry, and who are used to both protect them from predators and move and control them when necessary.

    You may be able to socialize your dogs to the chickens so that they can free-range. This will depend on the dogs' temperaments, their prior training, their respect for you, and your diligence in working with them as you raise the chicks

    I have one eight-year-old farm collie grump who leaves poultry strictly alone, always has. (It was a challenge to get her to work ducks at a stockdog clinic, though she's keen to bully sheep.) No worries.

    One three-year-old German shepherd who is socially autistic, and cannot perceive poultry because they are not in any way related to a game of frisbee.

    And then the five-year-old and the 14-month-old, offspring of my farm collie grump, who are very keen on my new peeps. Definite predatory interest there.

    I'm working with the two of them. As I check in on the chicks, they follow me out to the brooder on the porch and sit. When they are sitting nicely, holding a stay, and calm, I take out one chick and let them each sniff it, and lick its butt if they want. I remind the dogs that the chickie is mine, and that they are responsible for protecting her. Any incipient nips earn a pop on the nose and banishment from the porch. They are getting much more respectful over the past three days. I'll continue to do this for a few weeks, and as the chicks get bigger, will gradually allow the dogs into the same space with them under immediate supervision, probably one at a time at first.

    This is likely to work because I have dogs who have genetically biddable temperaments, natural impulse control, excellent foundation obedience training, respect for me, and familiarity with the concept of duty and responsibility. They know what it is to protect someone.

    FWIW, I started almost the same process with two barn kittens I got about two weeks ago. The young dogs had forgotten their cat manners since my old guy died in the fall, and started out way too keen with the tiny kittens. Since these are dogs who easily kill 14# groundhogs, I had real concerns they would harm a fleeing kitten who triggered their prey drives. Two weeks in, and they are now nuzzling the kittens appropriately, and the kitties love the dogs. I'll continue to supervise for another two or three weeks, though.

    So ask yourself whether your dogs have the temperament, training, and concepts of respect you need in order to conduct a successful introduction, and whether you have the skill and timing to correct the wrong and allow the right during the introduction process -- and if the answer is yes, work with them every single day while the chicks are small.

    And remember, a bird in the hand is not the same as one running around the bushes, so be extra careful and diligent when transitioning to "chick at liberty." You need to be able to read your dogs' to know when they are clicking into prey drive before they get started, and you need to be able and willing to deliver a memorable and effective correction just as the evil thought forms.

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