Dog Attack


9 Years
Mar 11, 2010
Eugene Oregon
I have had my dog for about six years now, she is a black lab. My wife and I started to get chickens about 2 years ago. Initially I was skeptical if the dog and chickens could co-exist, however, I was happy to find out, that my chickens were on their side of the fence and my dog was on the other. Both sides left each other alone.

That is... until recently...

My dog somehow got over, around, under, or through the fence. and attacked my chickens. She had killed three and wounded six (out of a total of 25).

My wife is furious and wants the dog gone. My friends have told me once a dog has tasted chicken blood its all over, she will never leave them alone again.
I have let my dog out once and she just paces the fence trying to figure out a way over, around, under or through it again to get back at the chickens...

Nothing has changed with my dog, she just suddenly snapped, like somehow she just noticed the chickens...

Now, I don't know what to do with the dog. Will she continue to try and get at the chickens? Kennel? Training? Destroyed? Has a taste for blood really tainted her?

It is difficult, because now I am beginning to feel like I have to choose between one pet or the other...

Thank you all for your input ahead of time..


10 Years
Sep 9, 2009
Olympia, WA
So sorry! The best bet is to never leave them out and alone together. It's important to understand that your dog was just being a dog. It doesn't mean she's suddenly an evil animal that needs to be put down, it just means that as her owner you need to be more vigilent about keeping your pets seperate and safe. With some training you may be able to modify her behaviour, but I wouldn't ever let them be alone together. Electric fence is your friend. It is reletively inexpensive and if you put a few strands around your chicken pen your dog is unlikely to mess with it after that first all important introduction. If you can post some pictures of your yard/ set-up we'll be able to give you more specific ideas on how to proceed.


ETA: This is a great article on bird wound care (second post by threehorses) if you need some ideas of what to do for your hurt girls.
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10 Years
Aug 24, 2009
I'm so sorry about you chickens. I hope the wounded ones heal quickly.

The hard thing with having dogs and chickens together is trying to anticipate the natural tendency of the dog. She's a Lab and her bird instinct has been ingrained in her for generations. You really cant blame her for going after your chickens.

In the future, you just need to be very careful that you dont allow her to be within their vicinity like Kittymomma suggested. I would also suggest you either move her or the chickens pens away from each other so that something like this doesnt happen again.

As far as your wife goes, I am sure she is very upset over the situation and has every right to be. You just need to reassure her that you can keep both separated and that you will take precautions so that it doesnt happen again. The dog was there first and now that you are aware of the threat you can take steps to insure there are no future problems.


9 Years
Mar 11, 2010
Eugene Oregon
They co-existed in the sense that they ignored each other and left each other alone. Both staying on their side of the fence. Since my dog ignored the chickens I really never thought about what would happen if she attached.

Here is a pic of my backyard. The chicken barn is about 80 feet away from the closest point on the fence (the yellow lines being the fence)



11 Years
Nov 15, 2009
San Diego, California
I can understand that you are upset about losing some chickens but you need to use some common sense and perspective here. First of all, the dog is just being a dog. Keeping your chickens safe is your job. I have some dogs that are great with chickens and other smalll animals, but I would never leave them alone together unsupervised. I am not sure why you would want to get rid of your dog for one little mistake. Dogs are not disposable that you get rid of them if you hit a bump in the road. Eating a few chickens doesn't make your dog a bad dog. If you read the posts here you may notice that it is pretty common for dogs to eat or kill chickens. If your concern is the chickens safety, it is simple to solve: Either build a better pen for your chickens or hotwire the chicken run. Or, buy an inexpensive dog run for when you can't supervise the dog or keep the dog inside or something. You might also get some obedience training lessons. I have kept chickens for a long time, and you need to view this as a learning experience. Now you have learned that your dog might do something to small prey animals when unsupervised. You have learned that you need to rethink your livestock housing or dog management.


10 Years
Mar 1, 2009
craig county, VA
i have 4 strong, high prey drive dogs that do co exist with my birds. I have had 2 mishaps.
both times the chickens came into the dogs' space. I have an electric fence wire on the inside of my dog's yard. Prevents digging out and going over the fence. when we're home, the dogs and chickens move around each other fine. when we're at work I have 4 chickens tht will come into the back yard with 2 of the dogs and I have no problem. It's the 2 dogs in the front yard that are the threat to the birds if we're not home. Luckily the girls don't venture tht far. I don't believe you can ever break a dog from killing chickens. You just have to eliminate the chances they come into contact with each other. the electric fence works well for keeping my dogs inside the yard and safe. they know to respect the fence, how close they can get to it and rarely get close enough to it be shocked. works very well for us.


Spiritwood Farms
11 Years
Mar 10, 2010
Raymond, WA
My Coop
My Coop
Hello all, first all, I have had labs all my life (and have hunted the same) and chickens and no birds have ever been lost from my dogs.
In fact, they all eat from the same scrap bowl after dinner...for their treats.
Labs, as a rule, have to be trained to have a soft mouth, something we trained our dogs to have, even when sent out after a wounded bird, they bring this bird back, pecking and slapping at the dog, and the dog never hurts the bird.
My labs even will put a paw on the bird to hold it, but never is a lab trained to mangle.
What the dog needs is to be trained as to what is expected of it.
You do not just put a fence up.
Your dog is very confused as to what is a threat, and what is not.
Your dog obviously thinks these birds are a threat or maybe a toy (and it is fun to chase them !)
A bored confused dog will love chasing chickens, or lambs or calves for that matter.
You need to spend time and train the dog what is expected of it.
Labs are not just born to love and protect birds...they are historically fishing dogs...and nonethe less you need to let that dog KNOW what you expect from it.
And the chicken killing behaviousr will not be tolerated.
If the dog disregards your anger, and is centered on the chcikens even as you yell at him, then you had better find a permenent way to keep that dog away.
If the dog 'listens' to you, then he/she just needs guidence.
I walk around with both the puppies and chickens for years, before I leave them alone together, so the dog knows beyond any doubt, what is to be protected, and what is to be attacked.


11 Years
Mar 22, 2008
Please check out the Dog Whisperer C. Milan. He worked with the famous Marley ( lab also )as he was interested in chickens also. Mr. milan also worked with other dogs who had high prey drive and as said above they can be trasined to Leave It . That being said I know how upsetting it is as I went thru the same with one of ours!


11 Years
Jan 19, 2009
new zealand
I should make myself clearer.... when I said co-exists I meant in the same space, not separated between a fence....

Have you ever taken him into the run while you're feeding the chickens? desensetise them from one another?

if your chickens are not use to the presence of your dog near them, they will be flapping and squawking when the dog enter their run, this will then trigger the dog's chase instinct.... the root of all your problem.... because like it or not, one day your dog will enter your chicken run for whatever reason (we're just trying to eliminate the chickens as one of the reason).

The taste of blood doesn't mean your dog can't be trained.... that's a fallacy... all my dogs are fed raw (yes, includes chicken), and they do live with the birds 24/7.

This is them waiting for food.

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