Dogs in Chicken run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by KCFly, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. KCFly

    KCFly In the Brooder

    Nov 7, 2016
    Kansas City, MO area
    Hello all,

    In my area we have plentiful coyote, raccoons, possum, and other wildlife. I know my coop and run will be a like a new buffet opening up in the spring. We are working on making the coop very predator proof and making the run pretty safe as well.

    The ladies will be locked up at night in the coop. I am thinking of perhaps putting the dogs doghouse in the run and have him sleep there to provide an additional deterrant to local predators. So the dog would be separated from the chickens. (run and coop are attached)

    Any thoughts on this?

    The dog is not a dog we have yet, I am hoping to get a dog about the same time as the chickens. The dog will be a working dog to help protect the chickens and future livestock we are planning on getting.

    Thanks for your thoughts. Good AND Bad.

  2. sunshine ducky

    sunshine ducky Songster

    Aug 7, 2012
    Hey there! I actually have a mountain dog in my chickens run. So I would obviously say yes to your decision. However there are some factors you must consider before getting yourself a farm dog. First, is you should either get it as puppy or an already Grown and trained dog. I got my dog as a puppy and trained him not to eat or hurt the hens By just saying "no". He understands now that he cannot touch them but that doesn't mean you should leave him/her in charge. You see, the dogs predatory instincts can trigger at any moment and might get the urge of attacking your hens. In all I would get the dog, train the dog, but never ever leave him/her unattended with your hens; you should always watch when they free range.

    Hoped this helped~Sunshine Ducky
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    A dog can be a huge deterrent to certain predators and provide protection to your animals and your garden. Dogs can also be quite destructive, especially puppies. A dog digging for moles can do a lot of damage, but can also catch a lot of moles. Before I put a fence around my garden I found where something, I think a neighbor’s dog but I’ not sure, rolled in my green peas and pretty much wiped them out.

    Contrary to several things I’ve read no dog instinctively knows what he is supposed to protect or destroy. I see that claim a lot with Livestock Guard Dog breeds. A friend had her LGD pup kill a baby goat playing with it. She mistakenly thought her older LGD’s would train it. You need to train the dog what is part of his “pack” so he knows they are to be protected, not killed. A common occurrence with dogs and chickens is that the dog thinks the chickens are really nice toys for him to play with. He will kill them just playing with them. The chase instinct is pretty strong in some dogs. If a chicken runs away from him, and they will, it is really hard for some dogs to not give chase. You have to train them and some never learn.

    A dog cannot protect anything if he is inside your house. I’ve seen several times where someone got a dog to protect their animals but when the weather was bad brought them in the house. Totally useless as a guard dog. If you get the right dog they can stay out in pretty nasty weather. Someplace they can get out of the weather is good, say a dog house properly positioned or under some outbuilding.

    Another big issue. Dogs cannot read “no trespassing” signs. Some guard dogs especially like to roam around their territory but that might include your neighbor’s property. How do they feel about having a dog roaming around their property? Are they likely to shoot it on sight?

    Trained dogs have been used for thousands of years for exactly what you are talking about. They can provide a whole lot of protection.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Training a livestock guardian dog, or any dog, takes some skill and a lot of very consistent effort.
    Can take up to 2 years for that dog to be counted on as 'safe' without supervision.
    Do not take it lightly or you'll just create an additional problem for yourself.

    Here's a place to get very good advice on choosing and training LGD's.
  5. KCFly

    KCFly In the Brooder

    Nov 7, 2016
    Kansas City, MO area
    Thanks to everyone who provided an opinion!

    We are definitely aware of the training requirements for the dog!

    Thank you again!

  6. jennyf

    jennyf Songster

    Apr 24, 2016
    I know housing either of my dogs in the coop would make chicken poop cleanup easier, wait, I mean completely unnecessary. [​IMG]
  7. JurassicBawk

    JurassicBawk Songster

    Jun 23, 2016
    Hixson, TN
    I don't know if I'd put a dog inside the coop, but could you work it so that the dog had patrol outside the coop?

    I have my chicken coop inside my main yard for my 3 large and 2 small dogs. The coop is made of chainlink panels, covered in 1/4 inch hardwire mesh from 4 foot high on the fence down to the ground and out another foot to prevent digging (then edged with wood to keep anyone from getting hurt on the wire,) with thick plastic bird netting covering the top and down the sides some. There's also a layer of camo-colored hunting blind (like weed block material) around the bottom of the inside of the coop, so that the dogs can't directly see the chickens to bother them. Between the 4 layers of protection, my chickens are safe from my dogs, but the dogs (which are all rescues and not working guardian dogs) can protect them from anything that's trying to get to the coop. Then as a bonus with the boys occasionally peeing on the hunting blind material, there is also a 'predator scent' on the coop to discourage any prey animals that might want to go after the chickens. The dogs have access to the yard all day and night, and even with the chicken's hanging food supply out and constant treats in their coop to leave crumbs, I have never see the first critter try to get to them through the dogs.

    Before I moved the coop into the dog's side of the yard, they were behind my greenhouse against the woods. I lost 1 chicken and 2 quail in two different nights of animal attacks. That coop was secured as well, but with no dogs to protect them and the woods on the other side of the wooden fence they were against, they didn't have the same protection and something got through my top netting. Now to deal with the chickens I just put the dogs in the garage or in the other fenced side of the yard so they have no direct access while the gate is open.

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