German Shorthaired Pointer with chickens?


12 Years
Jan 8, 2011
SE Minnesota
New to the site and I haven't even moved onto the farm yet, but I want to have a few hens for eggs. We have a 5-year old GSP and since he's a "bird dog"(we don't hunt), I'm wondering if he will try to get at the chickens? I'm debating about free-range, but can't let them range all day because I work in town. So, I figured I'd let them range when I get home & work in the garden, etc. But worried about the dog tales I'm reading...

Most any dog can be trained to leave birds alone, but a dog with high prey drive will be much harder to handle.

If you don't mind losing some birds at first you can give it a try.
If not, yoyu wiil have to pen the dog to let the birds roam
I am doing the German short-haired pointer as poultry guard dog. We started with 6 week old pup that was forced to spend time with birds raised in house. His prey drive is strong but being directed at rabbits and squirrels. When fired up his running does stir up chickens a bit, especially when intended to drive birds off feed so he can eat it. Running about for me good in long run because makes him more obvious to wild potential predators. Predator drive also gets him to check flocks that move about separately on a 6 acre spred and he is beginning to respond to chicken alarm calls. I can trust him unsupervised with adult birds. Soon he will be schooled by a game hen and her rooster in the art of not bothering bitties. After that he should be completely trustworthy.

An adult will be more difficult and loss of a bird or two is to be expected but with care you should be able to pull it off.

Something noteworthy is that my chickens can distinguish our German short-haired pointer pup from other dogs, including his brother that is not trustworthy with chickens.
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Generally speaking, no. Most bird dogs instinctively go for birds of any kind and it isn't because they want to give them love taps and kisses.
Our pointers are a constant threat to chickens on the loose. 98% of the time everything is fine. My male is actually trained to follow me into the run. While I am there, he will NOT touch a bird, but if they are alone.... Our birds have large fenced yards. And we use the e-collar fence to reinforce the boundaries. Most people use these fences to keep their dogs in, we use ours to keep the pointers out of no-no areas. Most of the birds have figured out the boundaries and can sense when it is safe and when to stick closer to home.
I would definitely keep the dog tied up or in the house when the chickens are out. Since your dog is an adult and hasn't been raised with chickens, I think his bird dog instincts could take over, even if he hasn't been raised to hunt. I have never had a GSP, but our neighbor had one. They don't hunt, either, but that dog went after anything with feathers. I hope you can make it all work together.
My first thought was NO way when I saw the breed.....I could be wrong but knowing the breed well I think you will have probs esp since he wasnt raised with just shouldnt free range when he is loose
I have 6 gsp's. They all hunt, upland and waterfowl. I don't let them loose with the chickens when they are pups, but after they are adults and fully trained (mine are trained to the highest competition and test levels) they are fine with them, they generally will point them, but a firm 'leave it' and heel away. They are great at keeping furred vermin away. after a few corrections they really don't seem to notice (mine free range during the day). That said my dogs aren't left out with them, they are in the house, and only out side for short periods, but I don't have to babysit them, they are all trusted, but they have been shown what is right and what is wrong.
The first chicken I lost was a 12 week old pullet to my son's GSP...Sorry...My Standard Poodle isn't much better. She's locked up or strictly supervised when the chickens are out.
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Thanks for all of the opinions. I figure I'll need to really be firm with him when introducing the birds. We do have a shock collar that works wonders - we've only ever shocked him twice; Just having it on him puts him on notice and his behavior is remarkably good. The older he gets, the more protective he becomes. Mailmen and paperboys are evil in his eyes and he will go after them. I'd like to break him of this, not only for the chickens' sake!!

And I think I'll need a good-sized run for the hens, so they can be outdoors, yet safe. I can't say I am willing to risk one of them being attacked.

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