Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TiaraLouise, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. TiaraLouise

    TiaraLouise New Egg

    Jan 14, 2016

    This afternoon my dog killed one of my chickens. It was one of two 15 week old Bantam chicken that was given to us by a relative, as the third one got killed at her place by an eagle (i think). I am wondering if you could tell me whether you think she would kill one of my old hens as well. Our old Golden Retriever recently died and we went to the pound and got this 5 year old chocolate labrador. We have had her for a week now and we are very attached to her, but not once has she even remotely been interested in any of our 5 hens or 5 ducks and she absolutely loves our 2 cats. She is also in love with every dog she has ever seen. However, when we got given these two Bantam chickens she was very interested in them but we thought it was because they are new.

    I was distraught when she killed one of them this afternoon as I was locking them in her pen. Of course I am going to try and keep them separate from now on, but I cannot lock my old hens up as they have been free range for years. I am wondering if any one of you think that she is a danger to all my old hens? Or did she only kill the bantam chicken because it is young and very small?

    I would really appreciate any opinions you might have or any experiences of your own.
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    Sorry to hear of your loss :hugs

    I'm afraid I have to say that now she has killed one she is more than likely going to try and kill any of your others no matter how old they are. My mother went through the same thing with her dog and birds. One escaped and that was it the dog got her. She now has to keep her birds locked up all the time as the dog is adamant on getting the rest of them. My dogs are ok with the chickens but one of them did kill a quail that I had. In the end I had to get rid of the quail for the sake of the dog as she was in state all the time about them. Plus for the safety of the quail!! I don't leave my dogs unattended with the birds when they are free ranging as you just never know. My advice to you now would be to not leave your dog near the birds and certainly not on their own together. Your going to have to keep them seperate.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Dogs have the instinct since back before Caveman times to chase anything that flees. Retriever breeds like a Lab or Golden also have the added instinct (added by man) to hold objects in its mouth like a newspaper, your slippers, or felled game birds such as quail, ducks, pheasants, etc. While these type of dogs are bred to have a tender mouth the hunter expects the retriever to quickly dispatch any cripple or struggling bird that they try to retrieve. Dogs are what they are. You will do much better by starting with a herding breed puppy and raising up pup with your chickens. That way pup hopefully views your chickens as sheep or cattle instead of looking at Henny Penny as a feathered squeaky toy, meant for dog to drop at your feet with the expectation of praise. You can break a dog from this behavior but it usually isn't something you can do in the blink of an eye. You'll also need to be careful about how you punish dog for killing chickens less dog gets it into his K9 brain that you're punishing him or her for not killing your chickens as fast as you want dog to kill them. 99.9% of dogs want to please their owners but the owner must know how to convey the message that chicken killing is verboten but that vermin killing is both permitted and encouraged.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I need to respectfully disagree with Yorkshire Coop. There are many others on this forum who have had a dog kill one or two chickens, and never had a problem again. The secret? Training. You can't just expect a dog to be fine with the chickens without any training. It could be that she was more interested in the bantam because it was young and small. I never trust a dog with chicks. They are tempting little fuzzy squeaky toys. You never know, of course, but I would guess that if she has left your older hens alone, she may continue to do so. But you've only had her for a week or so, so you both still have some getting used to each other to do, and as she gets more comfortable around the place, she may be more active around the birds. My last dog was a lab - loved to hunt pheasants and ducks - yet was trustworthy around the chickens. As far as I know, he never killed a chicken or chick. My current dog still needs some work.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  5. newwestchick

    newwestchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with Bobbi-j, I trained my dogs to ignore my hens (they're large breed heritage birds) but one of my dogs is waaaay to interested in the little cheeps. I know she would kill one given the chance. My guess is that the smaller size and squeakier sound of the bantam is what instigated the dog killing it.

    I've worked professionally with dogs for over 9 years, and I can say that it is very important not to punish the dog afterward, but best to observe closely how interested it is in the other animals and discourage any staring, pointing, or stalking of them. Redirect the dog at these low level early signs of interest and you will not have the bigger problem of chasing, which turns into catching, then maybe maiming or killing.

    We make dog toys sound like prey, so dogs are instinctually driven to "kill" the toys (think of all those squeaker toys on the market) - I would additionally avoid playing with any toys that make that noise. Good luck and hang in there, you haven't had the dog that long and labs aim to please ;)
    1 person likes this.
  6. Imthe1whoquacks

    Imthe1whoquacks Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 10, 2016
    West Virginia
    I had a dog kill one of my hens once. I was mowing and spooked the chickens when I got too close. One hen flew over the fence (which has since been extended upwards) and my dog was on her instantly. Wouldn't let go when I screamed at her so took out my gun and fired a warning shot ( I would never shoot my dog I just knew it would scare her enough to get her to let go) nothing I could do for the hen, she was too mangled for me to help her so I had to put her down.

    But my dog hasn't even looked crosseyed at a chicken since. I can even let the chickens out to free range right in front of her and she behaves.

    My puppy likes to chase though. I know he'd kill if he could catch them. He got out once and started after my favorite hen, I managed to grab his collar but he outweighs me by like 50 pounds so he drug me with him for a bit till the hen ran to safety in the coop.

    I want to train him, he's a smart dog, but he's also stubborn.

    I wouldn't trust your dog alone with your flock until you teach her chickens aren't playthings.
  7. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2014
    The idea that a dog that has killed is now this bloodthirsty monster that can never be tamed is silly.

    First, if you've only had the dog a week, it should have no unrestricted access to your chickens - you're moving way too fast. This is still a largely unknown dog - it should be on leash any time birds are about, and corrected swiftly when it makes any sort of prey-appraising type behavior. Whether or not this dog is ok with chickens is almost entirely about the amount of training you're willing to put into it.
    2 people like this.
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
  9. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    I've had chickens and dogs for 40+ years.

    Over that time I've had 10 different dogs. I have never lost a bird to any of my dogs.

    I agree with Crazytalk. All but one of my dogs have been adopted as adult dogs (training a puppy to ignore your flock is much easier), all have been trained from the get go on a leash and corrected immediately once any interest in the birds was shown. A head turn toward the flock, a ear twitch, whatever, and a quick yank with the lease and NO all at the same time.

    The Boston Terrier I have I adopted from a rescue group. When the lady brought Lulu to my home and saw I had chickens she basically said no you cannot have the dog. She will kill your chickens and you will have to return her.

    I asked has she killed chickens before? Of course the answer was no as Lulu was a puppy mill dog. She was never out of a run.

    I had meet Lulu three times before the home visit and there was something about this dog. I knew she was my "heart" dog and that I wanted her. She was a year old at the time.

    I convinced the lady to go back to the coop with me and let me have Lulu on leash and let me show you how I will train her to understand the chickens are part of her pack. I walked Lulu along the fence line and every time she looked at them I tugged on the leash and said NO.

    I probably did this a dozen times. Half way through it Lulu would not make eye contact with the birds. I must say I could tell right off the bat that Lulu, for whatever reason, didn't have much interest in the birds so I knew from the get go she wouldn't be a problem. That being said Lulu has a very strong prey drive, rabbits, squirrels, possums, raccoons, moles anything but my birds are fair game and dead if she catches them and she is pretty good at it too.

    I then convinced the lady to take Lulu back in the house and I was going to let the chickens out to free range. After about 15 minutes we went back outside. I had Lulu on leash and she showed no real interest in the birds even though the chickens were nervous about her presence as they did not know her.

    I dropped the leash and proceeded to walk around and Lulu followed. She never broke for a bird.

    Its been 10 years now and I was correct she was my "heart" dog.
    1 person likes this.

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