Getting a new dog and our hens

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by jencalta, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. jencalta

    jencalta New Egg

    Apr 9, 2010
    We have 3 New Hampshires, 1 leg horn and 1 Rhode Island Red year and half year old hens. We want to get a dog and do not know if this is a good idea. Can you let me know from personal experience how dogs or breeds of dogs are around chickens? Thank you so much!![​IMG]
  2. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    It depends on the dogs temperament. I would bring a chicken or two with you to test the dogs reaction.......
  3. sunny & the 5 egg layers

    sunny & the 5 egg layers Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 29, 2011
    It is not so much the breed as it is the individual dog. My border collie mix was not the best around chickens at first. The very first time I introduced my chickens to her (with her leashed) she tried nipping at them. She just didn't understand what she was suppose to do with the chickens. After that, I leashed my dog and made her lay next to me with the chickens free ranging around the yard. Whenever a chicken went up to her and she looked at me, looked away from the chicken, or didn't growl or show any other signs to be worried about, I patted her and told her "Good Girl!". After a little while of this, she was fine with them. But I still had to watch her around them for a few days just to be safe. Now, she LOVES the chickens. She will sit outside with them all day long! [​IMG]
    Just keep in mind that every dog is different. What took my dog an hour, may take yours a few days and vise versa. Just work with your dog and he/she will get there eventually. [​IMG] Also, it wouldnt be a bad idea to muzzle your dog while introducing him to the chickens at first either. Just remember: Positive Reinforcement!
  4. jencalta

    jencalta New Egg

    Apr 9, 2010
    Great Advice! thank you so much! We will try the muzzle and positive reinforcement. I am sure it won't take long our dog to get used to them [​IMG]
  5. Mountain Man Jim

    Mountain Man Jim Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with the advice above. We have trained 7 dogs to accept the chickens. I think rescue dogs are the easier to evaluate than a puppy. I think testing the potential new dog's reaction is a great idea; wish I thought of that one.

    One thing I would add is, look for dog breeds that are known for protecting livestock or families. They seem to be less orientated towards the chasing and eating of the chickens. So far my favorite breed is the Newfoundland. Ours took zero time to train with the chickens, plus she’s not too bad at being a watch dog and she’s weatherproof.

  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Many rescues will allow you to take a dog on trial before committing to the adoption, to make sure they are compatible with your family. I've adopted two in the past 6 months, and both times, the dogs barely glanced at the chooks (first is a Border Collie/Lab x, and the second is a smooth collie mix). Since they were uninterested on first meeting, we took them on a trial basis and finalized the adoption after we'd had them a couple of weeks and felt confident they were going to work out for us. In between adoptions 1 & 2 we also tried another dog who unfortunately did not end up being compatible.

    I'd recommend you start by talking to rescues and shelters and explain that you keep chickens and would like to trial any dog prior to adoption to make sure the situation will work out. You'll probably find they are happy to help out as in the long run, their goal is to place their dogs in a forever home, rather than have them bounce around from home to home.
  7. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    Central Ohio
    There quite a few threads on this, so doing a search may yeild some suggestions. Also, if you could give some other things you are looking for in a dog, like size, how much grooming you will do, energy level, etc it would help people to make recommendations
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  9. lynnR

    lynnR Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2011
    Foula, Shetland
    It'll be worth asking around for any young puppies to grow up with them or dogs that are already ok with hens, AND cocks if you plan to have one. A friends dog was perfect with hens and when she took the plunge and got a cockerel thought nothing of it. The dog almost killed it, and that was a big cock and small dog.
    My dogs first experience with chickens was at a friends house. They looked after her when I was at work (on a ferry 2/3 days a week for 6-10 hours a day). They didn't want her doing her business in their hay rig and where the children played so tethered her, next to the chicken pen. One day she broke the chicken wire, pulled out a grower and ate it.
    It was after that that I got chickens and raised 6 in the incubator. I watched her all the time when I had the chicks out of their box and their favourite thing to do was nest in her tail hair and perch on her back and head. I trusted her 100% by the time they were 7 weeks old. I still trust her and have had no incedents in 2 years. She does have a bit of an obcession, if there is a single different coloured chick she will follow it constantly until I tell her to stop it. She will give it up when they're around 4 weeks old.

    I would suggest that if you do get a dog unused to poultry never let it play with soft toys that could in any way resemble your birds.

    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011

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