Dogs And Chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by queenbeezz, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. queenbeezz

    queenbeezz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    For those of you who feel that their personal dogs are safe around the chickens-stop fooling yourselves!

    We have a three year old boxer. He was raised around the chickens, never showed any signs of agression what so ever toward them. If anything he has always been a bit shy of them. We have never allowed any of the dogs alone in the yard with the chickens while they are out. Yesterday while I was at work, hubby took the dogs out to go to the bathroom. As always, he was there with them, watching.
    We have an acre around the house fenced, this is where the chickens free range during the day. In a split second the boxer ran past him and nailed one of then hens. By the time he got to her she was mortally wounded. She died an hour and a half later. Hubby is so upset, he feels responsible. Needless to say the dog is in the "doghouse", he will never be allowed in the yard again while the chickens are out.

    Please learn this lesson from me, this is a sweet gentle dog, he's the last one of my pack that I would have expected this from! He has always been the "nursemaid" for all new or sick animals around the farm. I truly do not believe he meant to harm her but I will NEVER trust any of my dogs around the chickens again!
  2. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
    I am so sorry for what happened. I had a similair experience, due to my chickens fluttering up to the top of their free-range pen (100' x 100') and jumping down on the other side. My GSD and boxer have killed 4 hens since last summer. A lady I got hens from to replace the ones I lost suggested clipping the chickens wings-------I don't know why I didn't think of this before!

    I think how well a dog behaves around chickens depends not only on being taught to leave them alone, but also the breed of dog. The woman I got the replacement hens from has 4 border collies, and these dogs are wonderful with the chickens and other poultry the woman and her husband have. I don't believe they really did any training with the dogs----in fact, 2 of the dogs were previously owned by people who just kept them tied most of the time. If a chciken gets into the area around the house (that is fenced off to protect the flowers and such), all they have to say to the one dog is, "Rex, chicken in the garden" and Rex goes in and herds the chicken out! It's so amazing to watch----I know what my next dog will be!

    Tell your hubby not to be too hard on himself----things happen, and at least it was only one chicken.
  3. queenbeezz

    queenbeezz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    I am sure his breed has a lot to do with what happened. He has been trained from puppyhood not to mess with the chickens, but there is a point where instinct trumps training. He knew immediately that he had done something wrong but in that split second his instincts took over. Not his fault but lesson learned. No matter how well trained your dogs are, it only takes a second. Dog's instinct is to chase anything that flees from them, chicken's instinct is to flee. Not a good combination.
  4. FlowerFarmer

    FlowerFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 10, 2011
    Sorry that you lost a bird. I winessed a hawk fly off with my favorite chick last week a feel a little responsible. It's a little hard, but it happens.
    As for dogs and chickens;
    It completely depends on the dog and the relationship not only between owner and dog but bird and dog. Any animal that hasnt had a lot of interaction with a chicken will most likely have instincs to kill.
    I could go on and on about how wonderful my dog is... (probly the most intellegent and obedient dog I will ever know) and how she's been amazing with our birds (check out my pictures on my page)! I have to trust my dog to watch and protect her flock. (our chick was taken because the hawk watched the dog leave the yard (my BIG mistake). And by the time the chicks were two weeks old she was taking naps while the four chicks roosted on her back.
    Training CAN overcome instinct! Especially if you have a kind of dog that was bred to work for its owner and obey his command. The GSD for instance is supposed to follow orders and obey. (which is why they are police- they have the ability to stop short and do what isnt natural, but what is taught and trained). Other breeds like hounds and terriers are bred to follow their instincts and hunt, so you could assume they'd be more difficult (but not impossible; although I'd never let one loose with my birds) While any breed can do it, there are just some dogs that are better/easier/smarter/whatever with birds. (Keep in mind my dog is German Shepherd x Lab, and we've used her to flush quail and chukkar while hunting... and then had her come home to protect her 6 week old chicks! You'd think she'd be confused... but she knows what her jobs are (SPECIAL GIRL!)
    All dogs have to be watched and trained by the owner. It's our responsibility to decide if it is safe to have them together. For some dogs it can benefit, others not.Again all dogs are different. I would advise to take caution if you are unsure and remember that usually chickens=food. And also, there are many people that will tell you how great it is to have a dog behaving around their chickens, so just because yours can't handle it doesn't mean they all can't [​IMG]
  5. queenbeezz

    queenbeezz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    A week ago I would have written the exact same thing about my dog, good, protects etc, etc. but no matter how good the training, no matter how gentle the dog, you cannot predict that one second when instinct will take over. I will never trust another dog, no matter how well trained, around my chickens and geese.

    My dog is all of those things you wrote about yours and look what happened in the blink of an eye. Anyone who thinks it could not happen is inviting trouble. I love hom to death but I will never allow him around the chickens again.
  6. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    I think you're generalising a little too harshly after your shocking experience (even as you may have generalised from what seemed the dog's safe nature before yesterday). Boxers haven't been bred for hundreds of years to be safe around livestock. A good many working type dogs have, and of those, a small percentage can be 100% safe with correct training.

    So it has to be genes, temperament *and* training, the whole package, but a small percentage of dogs have it, mainly the people-obsessed intelligent trainable working ones. I would guarantee my dog no matter what.
  7. Paganbird

    Paganbird CrescentWood Farm

    Apr 25, 2009
    Western Pa
    I have an AKC doberman pincher. She's well trained. We've done obedience & we'll be starting agility training next month.
    I have never had any probems with her around the chickens. Even when she's been out unsupervised, she just herds them towards the barn... out of the yard. I'm not saying she would never do them harm, but I think her "need" to obey & follow rules overrides any other actions she might otherwise take.
  8. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2010
    San Diego
    I had a similar experience- I have a boxer-pit mix dog, he was raised with chickens, never showed any signs of aggression or really even interest in the chickens- he was scared of them when he was a puppy. While I was out of town my bf left him tied in the back yard one afternoon and did not put the chickens away- when he returned from running errands my dog had pulled out the stake and killed on of my hens- just one- he knew he had done something wrong, but none the less we do not trust him with the chickens any longer. You just never know when instinct will take over, I assume the chicken was running or flapping across the yard as they sometimes do, and he just couldn't resist. I used to brag about how good my dog was with the chickens, but I was wrong.
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Thank you for your post. It's a good reminder about being extra vigilant.

    The dog predator thing has always been my fear and why I can't imagine ever having both at the same time. And every time there has been a dog attack on my birds (thankfully no deaths) the dog's people say they have the most gentle obedient dog ever and that they are absolutely shocked their dog did what it did. The potential of a bird having pain and suffering and possibly losing its life is just too big a risk for me to take. Even though I know some folks here on BYC have dogs who will never harm their birds, I don't feel I can be certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that there won't be that moment of aberrant behavior so I choose to avoid the risk. If I ever need reminding, there is account after account after account here on BYC of people whose previously well behaved dogs unexpectedly attacked their birds. I have enough worry about other people irresponsibly letting their dogs roam onto my property- makes me crazy [​IMG]

    I'm so sorry for your bird [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  10. Invertalon

    Invertalon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    We sadly lost one of our three Red's by my Husky... We knew he was aggressive towards them (always staring down, and showed interest all the time)... Well one morning my mom was letting the chickens out to the larger, swimming pool "pen" we have setup for them since they are getting larger, just until they go outside to the coop... Well, generally we open the door, and get one-by-one and move them by hand to the larger area right next to the smaller cage. Well one decided to jump out right away and my dog literally jumped up and snagged her, sadly. My mom stopped him right away but the damage was done, trauma must of killed her... Was heartbreaking, and now have the entire room closed off to both dogs... Was such a sad morning... [​IMG] Her name was "No me quite pas", which ironically meant "Don't leave me" in French... RIP.

    We are going to make sure it does not happen again, that is for sure... Sorry to hear your story! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by