Dogs and Chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by saca523, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. saca523

    saca523 Hatching

    Jul 8, 2014
    First off I'll start with a hello, this is my first post on the forums. I'm located in beautiful South East Idaho and I have 14 chickens, 8 are free rangers, 6 are not, the 6 are relatively new and I'm hoping to introduce them as free rangers after they have had a chance to get used to it here.
    On with the question about dogs, I'm looking into getting a Weimaraner puppy. However, they are hunting dogs used to point and I am worried that it's natural instinct to hunt will not mesh well with free range chickens. Has anyone had experience with hunting dogs and chickens. Can they be trained to leave the chickens alone or will I be running interference between them all the time?
    Thanks so much for looking and thanks even more if you have an answer.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  2. lightchick

    lightchick Crowing

    Apr 3, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! I have 2 dogs and they leave my chickens alone. Well my lab mix ignore them and my Bichon poodle mix SOMETIMES gets a little excited and chases them but never bites them and it's more like he just likes running through the flock to see them run away from him and then he just leaves. I usually just have to tell him "NO" and he stops. I think that of you raise the puppy with the chicks and train him early in life he'll be fine. Some people here on the forum have dog that protect their chickens.
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.

    I'm not familiar with the temperament of the breed, but I do think that with proper training (which will require time, patience, and consistency) your dog should be able to learn not to bother your chickens. Our last dog was a registered Black Lab. He loved, loved, loved to hunt pheasants and ducks. We never once had a problem with him harming our chickens. He'd play the occasional game of "chicken bowling" (run through the flock, scattering them hither and yon and then look at me like, "Huh - would you look at that") Our current dog - when we adopted him we were told that he was a Golden Retriever/Lab mix, we are now thinking we have a Redbone Coonhound mix - is more energetic and hard-headed, but is still learning. He's only 7 months old, but when he's by the chickens (supervised only) he pretty much ignores them. If he does show interest, I call him over to me and reward him for listening. About a month ago, my DH had a lapse in judgement and left the dog loose and the chickens free ranging while he was gone for most of the day. He came home to 11 of my 40 meat birds dead, dying or injured.

    There is a poster here on BYC that goes by the name "centrarchid" - he uses German Shorthair Pointers as his flock protectors. Check out his posts - they're very informative. GSPs are known for being bird dogs, so that may help you out a bit. I don't know if their temperaments are similar to Weimaraners or not.

    Keep us posted on how things work for you!
  4. cute egg

    cute egg In the Brooder

    Nov 28, 2012
    I have a 2 year old chocolate lab. He attacked one of my hens and nearly ripped her wing off when he was very young. I thought I was doomed, but we taught him to leave them alone and now he lays and plays among them. I think you can teach your weim. :)
  5. patvetzal

    patvetzal Songster

    Aug 12, 2008
    Bancroft, Ontario
    Our Golden will bark at our RIRs, but when they chase him he runs.....after a bit of training with the electric collar.
    At first he would retrieve the hens and take any free ranging ones out of the garage and return them to the run. They were not enthused, and neither were we. Then he started getting a tingle when he approached a chicken and learned to stay back. Now he will make an effort to avoid them.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Weims are very like GSHP; they tend to be hardheaded but very smart. Starting with a puppy, you should be able to have him be polite around the chickens. Time spent training, supervising, and more training will pay off. Mary
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I am the "centrarchid" that bobb-j mentioned above. You can do but will require extensive training. Your dog of interest is smarter than most dogs as guardians which can make them more difficult to break in but can result in a dog that is a combination of companion, guarding and still even hunter. I expect total trustworthiness around chickens of all life-stages and for dog to learn chicken alarm calls. Starting with pup usually best for getting dog to learn chicken language and enables you more control into what behaviors the dog matures into. My dogs patrol without me but will collect me when a target of interest is particularly problematic (raccoon in tree they can not reach). They also chase off raptors (hawks and owls) which not all dogs learn to do. Consider confinement of dogs well since these very active hunting dogs are prone to roam if giving a chance and that can be problematic unless trained around livestock and other types of pets. Sometimes a dog pen is warranted as well as perimeter fencing. Getting dog trustworthy requires 18 to 24 months when starting from a pup. Get pup / dog under control before beginning introductions. I have done this enough to have birds (sometimes expendable and usually roosters) to begin the breaking in process.

    How many acres?

    Will dogs be able to control their own access to household / their sleeping quarters?

    Dog will still engage in chicken bowling from time to time but such I associate with another range of behaviors that are valuable when it comes to predator management..

    If more than one dog desired in the end, I suggest staggering acquisition by about 2 years to ensure first properly trained on safety side. These guys keep maturing well after that and never stop learning new tricks.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    x2! Fencing is essential; your hunting dog will range far unless confined. Invisible Fencing worked great here. Mary

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