Dog Questions! Do they get along with chickens, what food do you feed, breed, and more!!!

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by chickenlover09, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. chickenlover09

    chickenlover09 Chirping

    Jul 17, 2014
    Hi all! I've been pretty busy lately and haven't had time to post a lot.

    So, I've always wanted a dog, my entire life, but I still live at my parents house in a suburban/beach neighborhood area. They have been generous enough to let me house my two pet bunnies (inside), and the chickens. The chickens aren't really a major expense though, so they don't have a problem there, but they hate the mess so I just make sure to keep the yard and coop always clean:)

    This morning I was out having coffee with my parents, and all of a sudden my mom said, " I sort of miss having a dog." my dad then recalled a breeder that bred the cutest little goldendoodles. It sounded like they were near getting a dog, for Christmas. I've always wanted a dog from the shelter. Adopt don't shop was my moto. But my parents said absolutely not. Almost all the dogs at the shelter are pitbulls, german shepherds. I absolutely love pitbulls and german shepherds, but my dad does'nt. We were at my friends house when I was a kid, and her dog bit him, for no reason (I think he came from an abuse case and didn't like men), and ever since that my dad can't stand them. It's really wrong for him to judge the breed on one dog, but oh well.
    So I really want an aussie or a bernese mountain dog puppy. I've been looking at ads to show my parents, but I have a few questions on the care of dogs. Lol, sorry for taking so long to get to the point:)

    - What food and diet do you reccomend. I can't feed a raw diet. There are no butchers in my area, and the meet at the grocery market is either super expensive for good quality, or cheap but horrible quality. Do you prefer wet or dry and what brand. I can't really afford $70 and up for one bag of food.

    - What breed do you think would be good? Our backyard is medium sized, and the chicken coop is in it. The coop is incredibly secure, so there is absolutely no way the dog would be able to get into the coop while i'm gone (the flooring in the coop is a bunch of wood planks attached to the coop. I prefer medium-large sized dogs. I hate small dogs. I would be able to take the dog for an hour walk 2 times a day with runs on the beach and hikes. I'm sort of interested in australian shepherds and bernese mountain dogs.

    - Do dogs and chickens get along. My dad would want a puppy, as he thinks that the puppy would be used to the chickens when it's older and won't want to attack them.

    I realize this isn't a dog forum... But any advice and information would be really appreciated!!!!
  2. Fowlinthehollow

    Fowlinthehollow In the Brooder

    Jan 9, 2013
    Coeymans Hollow NY
    I have a boglin terrier (half bosten terrier, half beagle). I feed him Iams dog food, which is middle of the road price wise- at least at Petsmart. My sister swears by blue buffalo which is a little higher in price and has no grain in their product.

    Murphy is a great dog now but when he was younger he was a little wild. But! He has never given me any trouble with the chickens. He was probably about 6 months old when I brought my first chicks home so he got a lot of exposure to them and I was really clear that he wasn't allowed to touch them or be rough in any way. I have cats too and they are fine with them now. When the chicks were smaller they were very interested though lol. One draw back to having dogs/chickens is dogs like to eat the poo. I haven't had anything bad happen as of yet to my dog because of it thankfully, it's just something to be aware of.

    Good luck!
  3. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    You just asked a question that could take several books to answer. As individuals dogs are different but, generalizations can be made.
    The reason for different breeds are breed characteristics. Dogs are not all alike.
    Some thoughts on the breeds you have mentioned. (I'm familiar with them and many more.):
    Aussies are incredible dogs belonging to the herding group. They are very smart and if not given a job are quite capable of making up one of their own. A job you may or may not approve of. (Actually all dogs need training to reach their potential.)
    Bernese Mt dogs are huge. If you're worrying about amount of food they can put away, this is not the breed for you.
    Goldendoodles are mixed breeds. Their size may vary according to what size poodle was used in the breeding program. You can get smaller ones or ones that are bigger than a standard poodle. Their coat can vary according to which parent they favor, but most I have met are a grooming breed, which means their coat may well require clipping and the regular services of a groomer. Something to consider.
    Before you even think of a particular breed, perhaps go over what energy level you want and the exercise level needed..
    The size dog you want keeping in mind the food requirements for each size.
    What breeds were bred to do may give you an idea how active the dog will be as well as how they relate to other animals (But a good breeder or rescue service can tell you about the personalities of individual dogs, even puppies, but then it is up to you as the owner and trainer to maximum that potential.)
    There are many excellent foods on the market at different price levels. The question becomes which food is best for my dog? While there are some overpriced foods, I would never feed my dogs the "Why pay more brands" that consist mostly of grains and other low cost nutritional sources.
    There is so much to learn in picking a dog who will be a family member for the next 10 to 15 years.
  4. happy-bird

    happy-bird In the Brooder

    Nov 14, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    I have had labs, beagles and bully mixes. For all around personality and easy training, it is hard to beat a lab or golden retriever. They just need a lot of exercise.

    As for getting along with chickens, I think it all depends on the individual dog. Right now, we have 3 pits, and one loves the chickens (she licks them and will gently herd them), one is afraid of the chickens, and one will chase them. He's more intrigued than aggressive, but either way, he is not allowed contact. All three love my cats, but because they are pits, they are never allowed unsupervised contact (we did not raise these three dogs, they belong to my housemate).

    Really, I think it mostly has to do with how you raise them and how much socialization they get with other animals as pups. With proper training, almost any breed of dog can be taught to respect other, smaller animals. Training just has to be tailored to the breed. For example, herding dogs would need to be taught to not nip while they herd- because they will herd anything- kids, sheep, is what they love to do. Bouncy lab pups would have to be taught to be calm and gentle around the chickens. The best way to decide on a pup is to see how much exercise and personal attention each breed needs and choose one that best fits what your family can consistantly provide every day.

    As for food, the more protein, the better. We use Authority, the Petsmart brand. It is a good mid-range food that fits our budget. Check out the site the Dog Food Advisor to learn everything you'll ever need to know about dog food. It not only rates food, it also breaks down dozens of brands by each ingredient (what it is exactly, how it is processed, if it is beneficial or junk) and is very eye opening. A lot of the supposed premium brands (like Science Diet) are no better than cheap grocery store brands, full of grain. Dog Food Advisor is fantastic.

    Good luck to you!
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    I would be very cautious about having dogs where they are able to have contact with chickens. As many BYC members can attest (some to their sorrow), dogs and chickens do not tend to mix well. A lot of new members have expressed shock and horror because their dog (even small ones like chihuahuas) suddenly and unexpectedly chased and killed their chickens. Once a dog has chased and killed chickens, it is almost impossible to break them from doing it again. If you do decide to try and train a dog to guard your chickens and not chase them, good luck in your efforts.
  6. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    While I think common sense is necessary, keeping a dog and chickens is far from impossible. I have had dogs (usually more than one at a time) and cats my entire life and chickens for over half my life (As a child, then we got more when our children were small). The only dog that could not be trusted around chickens (and she was sneaky about it) was a Siberian husky which we rehomed. Even our terrier was fine. Our other dogs have all been herding dogs and until two years ago had five dogs representing three different breeds.
    Our sheltie who died last summer at almost fifteen was a saint. The hens loved to sneak up on him and pull the white tip on his tail. Our English shepherd has been around poultry his entire life (as have the others) and he will get up and walk away with a bone he is gnawing on if the chickens get too persistent in taking pecks at it.
    Throughout my life I have had collies, English shepherds, shelties, herding mixes and a pit bull terrier type that were fine with poultry. My son's lab/border collie is fine and we have neighbors with poultry that have collies, labs, cockers, and cur type dogs that are loose on the farms with chickens.
    My dad had pit bull types (farm type dogs, a far cry from the pit bulls of today) and chickens, and my mother's family fox terriers and chickens.
    I've found with the one exception you get behavior you work for and are willing to accept.
    When I was a child the chicks were parent raised. Now I incubate and brood in the house so the chickens hear the dogs before hatching, I'm sure, and see them even before they are out of the incubator (The dogs will look in), and the dogs sniff them as they get carried from the incubator to the brooder.
    My husband worried that the chickens are so used to our dogs that they wouldn't react to a strange dog or even a fox as some of the shelties look like little foxes.
    We found out, they can tell the difference.
    The shelties get along well with the chickens, but mostly they're just alarm clocks.
    The collies and English shepherds have the attitude that what is ours (Their owners') becomes theirs to protect. In the dogs I have or have had, this almost seems to be a breed characteristic. Of course, we have gotten dogs from working lines, so I'm sure dogs without the correct instincts would never have been bred.
  7. chickenlover09

    chickenlover09 Chirping

    Jul 17, 2014
    Thanks so much everyone!

    Money isn't really an issue as for the food, but I really don't want to spend loads of money on just one bag of dog food.

    I'm looking for a pretty active dog. I would wake up early in the morning and go on a 1 hour run, and another run in the evening. We would go on weekly hikes, and runs/swims at the beach. I'm also really interested in agility and trick training. I've seen lots of youtube videos of australian shepherds doing agility, and that's why I became interested in the breed.

    I think I may go with either Canidae ALS (they sell it in like 40 pound bags at a local feed store for about $50) or Blue Buffalo life protection.

    Thanks again for all the help!!!!!
  8. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Whatever breed you decide to go with, definitely choose a good breeder. Both of the dogs mentioned can have issues, but especially Bernese mountain dogs. I am always seeing them come through radiology (I work in radiology at the vet school, as I am also a student there) and they often have knee issues (torn ACL) and lung cancer.

    As far as feeding goes, the Australian shepherd is going to eat a whole lot less! They will also probably shed a lot less.
  9. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    Since you mentioned agility, I can fine tune a reply. (I've competed in agility, different venues, for 17 years now. If you're going to spend your effort, time and money training and entering trials, you at least want a dog that should be able to do agility and enjoy it. I'd forget the goldendoodles and Bernese Mt dogs. I've known some who have done agility, none of them well IMHO. Goldendoodles, goldens are excellent agility dogs (one of the top five counted by advanced titles given, 1. sheltie, 2. border collie, 3. aussies, 4. goldens, 5. papillons) but standard poodles are the class clowns in the ring. Mini poodles do really well, however.
    Again, if you want an agility dog I would recommend getting a dog from a good breeder, perhaps one who does agility. By the time you get the puppy the breeder should have evaluated its potential (although it is up to you to bring that potential out) and will have probably exposed the puppies to play tunnels and tippy boards.
    It's never too early to start focus training, directional, and lots of game playing that makes learning fun. Young puppies are little sponges just absorbing everything around them. Take a puppy everywhere with you and socialize, socialize, socialize.
    While rescue dogs can and do do agility, they may never reach what they could have if started on the right track earlier. My first agility dog was a rescue collie that I got at over one year of age. She had had no training and had been exposed to nothing. I spent more time and money on her than any of my other dogs and she didn't get as far as my other dogs although she had the sweetest temperament. My second agility dog was the sheltie who died last summer and he was ready to trial on his first birthday (Back then AKC allowed dogs in the ring at 12 months.) and he attained titles before she did. Of course I was becoming a better trainer in the process so he had the benefit of that, too.
    Good luck. Aussies are very versatile dogs. I know ones who hold titles in obedience, tracking, agility, herding, carting, and barn hunt.
  10. NickyPick

    NickyPick Songster

    Sep 18, 2010
    Cypress, TX
    If you have a Tractor Supply Company store near you, they have a good grain free brand - 4Health. Cheaper than Taste of the Wild and lots cheaper than Blue (Freedom or Wilderness).

    I have Aussies and my sister has a Lab mix. The Lab mix chased one chicken and I yelled at her. She dropped it an never looked at them again. The older Aussie, we worked on the "leave it" command and now she totally ignores the chickens in favor of barking at the horses. The chickens ignore both dogs. I have a new puppy, Aussie, and the chickens definitely know there is a new dog around and they get all upset if I put her on the ground. She's pretty interested in them, so we'll be doing a lot of "leave it" training before I have her off leash in the barn area.

    There may be some dogs that just can't get past instinct, but I believe most dogs can be trained to leave your chickens alone. So many dog breeds nowadays are so far removed from actual hunting breeding that you have to go to a specific breeder to get a dog that will naturally do what the breed is supposed to do!

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