Chicken herding dog?


11 Years
Mar 9, 2008
Rhode Island
Hello! I had a question about dogs and chickens. I have a 1 year old papillon who has been with chickens her whole life and loves them like a mother. She herself is 4lbs, so hurting the birds is not an issue anyways, and she is not a bred hunter or digger etc. Simply a companion dog. She isnt allowed with my birds unacompanied

Anyways my question is, is it a good idea, or even possible to train my dog to herd the chickens back into their pen after foraging time is over? If its been done, please let me know how. Im sick of chasing the birds around the yard for half an hour before actually getting them to go into their pen!


12 Years
May 24, 2007
I think that using a dog to herd your chickens would totally stress out the chickens since, unlike ducks, they tend to scatter when frightened. I don't know for sure though ... hopefully someone else will chime in who has experience in that area.

However, I'm wondering if you got these chickens as adults and that's why they don't come to you. Or, it could be the breeds you have? But my chickens come running to wherever I am when I call "here chick, chick, chick!" I taught them that as youngsters by giving them special treats when saying that to them. I wonder if you could train yours now by keeping them locked up for a few days and giving them some special treats while using the same words each time so they learn that coming is a good thing.

Another possibility, depending on your day, etc. is to just let them put themselves away each night at dusk and then lock them up. Chickens almost always go home (to their hen house) to roost every night so maybe just waiting until dark will solve your problem.

Maybe someone else has other ideas? Good luck.


11 Years
Mar 9, 2008
Rhode Island
This was a past experiance with the wrong kind of chickens I should have added. I am about to get (after 3 years of consideration) 3 week old sexlinks and I want to get off to a good start. I just want to know if its possible. I didnt think about the stress it would do to my hens. Good point there.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
I'd be reluctant to encourage a dog to chase chickens in any way shape or form whatsoever, no matter how 'nice' the dog has seemed to be towards the chickens in the past. Once the excitement starts (and if the chickens run or flutter away, there WILL be excitement) all it takes is the wrong neuron firing somewhere deep in the dog's brain and then you have a dog who's learned how nice fresh chicken tastes...

I sure wouldn't do it.



12 Years
Jul 21, 2007
West Covina, California
I have a 5 year old papillon that is scared of my chickens!
She learned early on the you get too close, they give you a mean peck. You can always tell when all the girls are in the coop at night because the dog gets brave and barks at their


12 Years
Apr 15, 2007
Creedmoor, NC
Yep, the problem isn't with training the dog, it would be training the chickens. Chickens don't really herd. The dog would very likely get frustrated, and a lot of herding dogs get grabby when frustrated.


Free Ranging
15 Years
Jan 26, 2007
central Ohio
We have a shepherd/chow mix. She has been around our chickens for a couple of years. She doesn't know exactly what to do, but we take her out with us on a long extension leash if we need to catch a chicken, or herd them somewhere. The dog has lots of room on the leash and tries to figure out where we want her to be, but if we need her to move somewhere else, we can control her. It isn't an exact science yet, but we're working on it. It works pretty well a lot of times.


11 Years
Feb 10, 2008
Western Oregon
I agree.
I think training the chickens to come to you would be more effective. Can you put them to bed close to sunset? Bring a recognizable container of treats out each evening, call "chick chick chick" toss a little to one of the tamest ones (and the rooster if you have one) and then go toss some treats around in their enclosure. Soon they will come running as fast as they can to you! I use a little bit of scratch (wheat and cracked corn).


14 Years
Mar 11, 2008
whine cntry,ca.
I never would have thought it possible,but our rescued 2year old shepard thinks herding chickens is her work. She regularly jumps a 6 ft fence to bring the girls around. Today ,after her 'leap' I went to gather her back inside,when I noticed it was very quiet...
no noise from the coop area...
there she was hovering over 'cleo' our frizzle banty,next she took 'cleo' in her mouth and carried her into the coop,as gently as picking up a new puppy!!
I'm still flabergasted,and 'cleo' is just fine!!


11 Years
Mar 22, 2008
Chirpy and Snugglepup are right. You can't herd chickens because they scatter, unlike sheep or even ducks.
Shelby, you're playing with fire. You might come out someday to find that your shepherd had tried to grab a bird that didn't allow itself to be easily caught, and it could be a disaster. Do some research, and you'll find that the herding instinct is just a modification of the hunting and stalking instinct. It's fine when coupled with training and the control of a knowledgeable human, to step in if needed, but experienced shepherds never allow a herding dog to have access to the sheep without being present. Keep in mind that there is a huge difference between a livestock guard dog and a herding dog.

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