German Shepherd Dogs & Chickens - are they compatible?

operationindigo

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 26, 2013
55
7
43
I've been poking around this forum and I am surprised, or well maybe not surprised, to see that no one has mentioned German Shepherds in relationship to keeping chickens. Let me tell you about my story...

I just got two chickens - as a first time chicken keeper - over the past weekend. My dog is a German Shepherd mix (nearly entirely german shepherd) who is about 6 years old. She's always been a city dog and has never had any kind of contact with livestock, especially birds like this. She's so socialized with people that I really didn't think she would have much of a prey drive. Well needless to say she was left out in our yard for 20 minutes to potty in the yard. My coop is pretty secure with good fencing around the run and a covered top. My dog had started trying to chew through the wooden frame of the chicken coop to get to the chickens. I'm terrified she's going to hurt them or get in sometime.

Can German Shepherds be okay around chickens? They don't free range in the yard - they have a run that they can range in. Is she too old to train? Any training suggestions?
 

Valk

Chirping
6 Years
May 14, 2013
112
11
63
Durango, Colorado
My friend has a full-bred German Shepherd and when that dog is here she stares at my chickens the whole time. She's dreaming of how many ways she can take out their squeakers. It's pretty annoying, really. The dog completely obsesses. Obviously, the dog is not very well-disciplined and maybe your dog is. In any case, I would proceed with caution!
 
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coffeychicks

Songster
6 Years
Apr 7, 2013
535
65
163
moncks corner s
I have a pure bred German shepherd and 30 chickens he has such a high prey drive he has already killed 1 and injured another. Proceed with extreme caution. They can be trained but it takes lots of work
 

Valk

Chirping
6 Years
May 14, 2013
112
11
63
Durango, Colorado
Operationindigo, I was just browsing through threads and saw this user's profile picture:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/u/240821/siggandchicks

I guess it depends on the dog! Perhaps you could message them and get some better advice. :)

Obviously, coffeychicks, I was referring to myself, not you, about operationindigo receiving better advice.
big_smile.png
 

yogifink

Songster
7 Years
May 16, 2013
464
253
171
Pinebluff, nc
My Coop
My Coop
Regardless of breed, any dog can be safe, and any dog can be dangerous.

It is not the breed, but rather how the animal is raised.

I have a lab and a tree-walking coon hound, both are hunting dogs, and both were taught not bother the chickens.

In fact, the hound will hop over the chicken run fence (4 feet) to tree a squirrel, and then proceed to sniff around the run eating tasty chicken treats (chicken poop) until I let her out.
 

coffeychicks

Songster
6 Years
Apr 7, 2013
535
65
163
moncks corner s
My gsd bear was raised with chickens from time he was 6 weeks old but because I am a cancer patient I was unable to continue training in regard to the chickens. Once I got better took him out there massive disaster. Just leash you dog and be ready to make corrective action if needed
 

klcabe

In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 21, 2012
55
2
48
Canton, NC
My three adult dogs - 11, 6, and 4 years old - do not bother the chickens; in fact, my oldest female will 'help' me when I go to feed/water my birds, by rounding them all up and bringing them to me. None were raised around chickens, and we've only had them for a year and a half (the chickens). I also have a hunt trained Labrador, and a rescue Belgian Malinois. Neither of them mess with the chickens, either, now; the Malinois killed two last year but as long as someone is outside with him, he leaves them alone.

I have three 'puppies' (they are just over a year old) left over from 2 litters ago (I breed working line German shepherds) that would kill every bird on the property if they could. No matter what I do, I can't make them understand that that is not acceptable, so I had to fence in an area for the chickens rather than letting them free range.

Here are some photos of my old lady 'helping' me a couple of months ago. ;)

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operationindigo

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 26, 2013
55
7
43
When I came home from work today, I started doing some training with my dog. The chickens are totally fenced in in their run so this is low risk really, unless she is unattended and can get in. I turned on the hose on the jet setting and let it stay on and set the nozzle down near the coop in arm's reach. I let her wander the yard, and every time she locked eyes on a chicken I sprayed her. My dog HATES water and will do pretty much anything to not get wet. She got sprayed twice and that seemed like enough for one night for her - she stayed as far away as she could for the next little while. Now we'll have to see if it sticks.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,963
33,564
1,092
On the MN prairie.
When I came home from work today, I started doing some training with my dog. The chickens are totally fenced in in their run so this is low risk really, unless she is unattended and can get in. I turned on the hose on the jet setting and let it stay on and set the nozzle down near the coop in arm's reach. I let her wander the yard, and every time she locked eyes on a chicken I sprayed her. My dog HATES water and will do pretty much anything to not get wet. She got sprayed twice and that seemed like enough for one night for her - she stayed as far away as she could for the next little while. Now we'll have to see if it sticks.

Well, at the very least, she may have learned not to bother the chickens when you are out there and the hose is near.... It can take a LOT of time and consistent training to teach a dog to leave chickens alone. Sometimes not, and I believe that the younger the dog when you start training, the better. Older dogs tend to be more set in their ways, it seems. Not that they can't be trained, just that it will likely take more time. I believe any breed can be trained, but it does take much time and patience.
 

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