Chihuahua chasing/herding the chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ellie_may12, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. ellie_may12

    ellie_may12 Out Of The Brooder

    May 31, 2009
    St Tammany
    We have a new issue with the chickens lately. My 3 lb. chihuahua who never bothered the chickens before has started chasing them around the yard. She acts like she is herding them. They peck and chase her back. I really thought that one of those 6-9 lb hens would have put her in her place by now, but she doesn't seem to mind them attacking her.

    Should I be concerned? I don't think she can hurt them, but I don't think this is good behavior for her either.
  2. cwhit590

    cwhit590 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 6, 2008
    SW Michigan
    Be careful!

    My friends lost 5 young chickens this spring to a small Chihuahua mix....just sayin....[​IMG]
  3. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2009
    Goshen, OH
    I wouldn't let the behavior continue since it's possible that it could escalate. A small dog won't be able to shake a chicken to death, but it certainly can get some teeth on one. Chickens are trusting to what is "naturally" in their area on a regular basis. Dogs and cats.. unless they've been stalked/attacked by them... they will accept if they are there with the trusted human.

    The chickens won't know when the dog switches from play to prey until it's too late. Most humans can't tell the difference either. Some people will say "Oh it's just play"... but then something bad happens. You know your dog better than anyone, and you've already said you don't really care for the behavior, so work with your chi on "leave it" so that she learns to give the chickens space.

    Chickens learn things... you don't want them to learn that a dog running at them is "no big deal" since the next dog might not be your own!
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    This link from Uppity Peon worked wonders for me.

    I started doing this with my German Shepherd and it has worked great. (combined with a shock collar for added security of my birds) I started by bringing her in with me into the chicken yard on leash. I'd make her lay down and just watch while I gave the chickens scratch to keep them occupied. Sniffing was allowed, but mouthing got an instant correction. After a while of doing this, I gradually increased it to allow her to walk around but I had my finger on the shock button just in case. She never went for them. She got to the point where not even flight got her prey drive, and now I've started supervised free range with her, me and the chickens. She's messed up once - one of them flew down from my arm, and she pinned it. Didn't hurt the chicken and she stopped when I told her no. She got the instant correction, then "punished" by not being allowed to be with them right after that. Other than that, no issues. Would I leave her alone with them? Absolutely not. The temptation is just too much IMO. Afterall, she's a dog.
  5. kcravey

    kcravey Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 10, 2009
    East Texas
    I have a chihuahua also that loves the chickens! He is obsessed with them! He has yet to hurt one and does "herd" them. When I let the chickens and the turkeys free range, he keeps them all away from the woods and tries his best to keep them together. If one gets too far off from the others, he herds them back in with the pack. I dont trust him with the baby chicks, I have seen him snap at them through the fence when they got too close to the outer edges of their pen. But he is obsessed with watching them and making sure they are all ok. I was wondering if chihuahuas werent chicken herders when they were first bred or something! Once, I let him sleep in the adult pen when we saw raccoons out. The adults were all up high roosting and I let him sleep in the nesting box with them that night in hopes he might deter the coons. He didnt mind one bit and it worked - everyone was alive when we got up! Also, when they are free ranging, he is the first to let us know a strange dog has come on the property. We also have a maltese and a german shepherd, but they are not at all interested in the chickens. When the chihuahua raises the alarm, then the shepherd will go and get the other dog to go away. When the chihuahua goes in the pen with the chickens, he kind of stresses them out because he tries to keep everyone in the middle of their yards, so we do our best to keep him out of there. But when free ranging - he has proved to be invaluable!
  6. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    I have a 10 lb menace that loves HIS chickens ... he watches them and chases off anything near their run or coop including a great dane and a juvenile mountain lion....he tries to share his teddy bear with them and all they do his peck his head. [​IMG] He has never shown the least bit of aggression towards the birds...even my ducks when they chased him down and cornered him. But let something go near them and he turns into a 10 lb menace with a rottie attitude.

    As for yours chasing and so forth...I would put a stop to it immediately. That will lead to trouble and your little menace can also kill not meaning too so put a stop to the behavior when it starts. Good luck with your little one.
  7. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Quote:Nope they were bred for, and this is gonna floor you, but was bear hunting. They would jump at the bear's throat and hang on ripping at their throat. They are some of the most protective, tenacious little dogs you could ever own. They have been known to rush a much larger dog such as a Rottie, protecting their owner and fighting to the death to do it. Great little guys who truly give their all when the time comes for it.
  8. adkchickmama

    adkchickmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2009
    We have a 4 yr old Jack Russell (21lbs) and 10yr old Shepherd/husky mix (75lbs) . We have a large property that they roam on. When I got my first chicks last summer, I had to watch the JR constantly, she tried to pull them through the cage by their little tail feathers or get the baby chicks any way she could. She has a LARGE prey drive. The larger guy could care less about the birds . As the hens grew I gradually let my JR into the pen to get used to them (with me watching closely)during the time I gave them their bread snack everyday. My JR lives for food!! I did not have a shock collar, but did correct her if she went after a bird. Eventually she learned to sit among the chicks and concentrate on her portion of the bread getting tossed. Now I can let both my dogs run loose, free range my chooks and not worry. In fact when we go away for the afternoon I make the dogs stay out and say "watch the girls" . THey have chased off foxes and any other critters they see come into the yard. Good Puppies. [​IMG]
  9. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2009
    I had a Basset Hound once that would herd the goats and bring them in from the pasture for milking. Now that was a sight to behold!!
  10. urban dreamer

    urban dreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2009
    Sherwood, AR
    Our Pomawhawha thinks the chickens are "hers". She darts out of the house, goes straight to the coop. She'll sniff it, mark it, and then not leave them for anything. She will chase and growl at squirrles, falling leaves, and anything eles that gets near that coop. But the second we open the run and that 5lb chicken gets close to that 3lb pooch, her tail is tucked between her legs and she's flying across the yard as fast as she can! Watch yer dog though, they think they are rottwilers and might try to go after your birds after a while.

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