Golden Retriever goes nuts over chicks - Help!!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cluck love, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. cluck love

    cluck love In the Brooder

    Aug 21, 2010
    Northeast - very rural
    I need advice from those who have been there - my golden goes crazy every time he sees the chicks, how do I get him to behave himself? I am so worried that he will hurt one of them. He is overall a very good dog. I have read advice about introducing your dog slowly, by the leash and under constant supervision, which we do on a daily basis for the past three weeks, but are getting no where with this approach. We have a cat with whom he is very well behaved with, in fact, he knows his limits with her, she has trained him well! I was told today by my dad that when the chicks are grown up they may end up ganging up on him, could there be any truth to that? I just want to live in peace and harmony, please help!!!

  2. beth59

    beth59 In the Brooder

    Jul 2, 2009
    Pensacola, Fl
    Well, here's the thing. I've had goldens for 25 years. They were developed to be birdy - they're supposed to be highly interested. How old is your boy? If he's young, then that's pretty typical. If you've not ever done an obedience class with him, I'd try to get in one so that you can learn how to train properly and he can learn manners and to socialize properly.
    This is also a management issue. My dogs are never out alone with the chickens and if they're ranging, I keep a constant eye on them. I have 4 dogs right now: 2 goldens and 2 border collies. My 10 year old BC was probably the most fascinated to begin with. The youngest BC is afraid of them. The two 9 year old goldens were rescued fosters who were somewhat interested, that we just took in this year. All four dogs pretty much ignore the birds now, but did have to be introduced on lead at first. Fortunately, an assertive "NO", or Leave it!" were all it took for mine. You need to teach those commands with something far less enticing to begin with and then move up in difficulty.
    I can imagine if you have a young male that it won't be that easy, hence, the managment issue. You just simply cannot allow alone time or off leash time with him and the chickens right now.
    Not sure about them ganging up on him, but I do know that one of the funniest things I saw when our first crop of chicks were maturing was my youngest BC trotting across the yard looking over her shoulder and then seeing the young rooster following her as they came out from behind a bush. Apparently she got a little too close to the flock for his comfort and he was letting her know.

  3. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Songster

    May 2, 2010
    My lab licks her lips whenever she comes close to the babies. I don't really feel comfortable with that, so I know what you mean! Whenever she goes outside and the big chickens are in their run, she runs up acting as if she's going to pounce them. She may just be playing, but I don't really wanna test her with it.
  4. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Are you planning on letting the chickens and dog in the same yard?? I have a golden and she is often "interested " in the chicks and chickens. But, they are separated by an 8 foot tall fence. If you are planning on keeping them apart- it won't matter if the dog is crazy for chicks. If you are going to have them together, that is another story....
  5. baker1

    baker1 Hatching

    Aug 3, 2010
    Labs and retrievers are bird dogs, they hunt birds and that's just what they do. They are bred for it and you may have to make a decision on what you want worse, birds or bird dogs.
  6. snowflake

    snowflake Crowing

    Aug 21, 2009
    Belding Michigan
    I would not trust him, when we first got chickens our husky grabbed a chick right out of the brooder while I was standing next to it, that time I got the chick away, he was then real good for about 3 months thought we had over come his urge to grab chickens. Then one day I ran in the house to get some thing, looked out the window and he was prancing across the yard with a rooster in his mouth. Now he is so old and lame he can't chase them any more. Golden's are bird dogs just like huskies are hunters, hard to brake them of that. Could be done maybe with intensive obedience training.
  7. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Songster

    May 2, 2010
    Quote:I was going to say the exact same thing, but I knew there would be those out there that have pics of their baby chicks cuddled up to their labs/retrievers!


  8. sheilawagner

    sheilawagner Songster

    Jul 16, 2010
    Pacific NorthWest
    A lot of work is going to be required, a lot more than just supervision. You need to be hands on and very firm, of course an intensive obedience class works well too. I hope you will achieve what you want - harmony and peace, and no blood shed. I have my dogs under absolute control 100% of the time and I won't tolerate any nonsense, and they know it. Our batches of chicks and the free range adults are now part of our pack.

    I think you will have a hard time, trying to train out the 'bird prey' instinct out of your RETRIEVER. He was specifically bred over hundreds of years with the human intention to retrieving BIRDS. You have tough odds to beat, hundreds of years of human involvement in breeding those characteristics the golden is known for. You may eventually get what you want, or you may try and try and not get it. But I wish you the best.

    My dogs are not retrievers, they are Airedale terriers, but vermin killers nonetheless. I worked hard to train my dogs to accept my birds as part of our flock and they guard them now in the yard from hawks and other predators. Our acre for the birds is fenced in, but the hawks can still nail them.

    We go from this

    To this

    In both pics, it is my younger Airedale Rummy (1 yo) and his fav blue Cochin bantam. It turned out to be a mellow Male.

    All the best to you. Some of the other posts in this forum give lots of good advice about dogs and birds. You might be able to gleam useful information.
  9. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Songster

    May 2, 2010
    I knew it! That is one very sweet dog with some very cute chicks!
  10. write2caroline

    write2caroline Songster

    Jun 21, 2009
    My Cocker Spaniel confused the chicks peeping with his chew toy. In a flash he got to my first batch. They were in their tractor and the door opened by accident on its own and in he went. Literally in seconds - He got to all three of the chicks. One died instantly the other two were in shock.

    Cockers are the smallest of the bird dogs. That batch of chicks were two weeks old.

    I have trained him to "leave it" and fetch. He is very obedient. Long before we got chickens. Now that the chickens are grown - he leaves them alone. I don't fully trust him but my youngest ranging chicks are 13 weeks old and he does not bother them even though they peep. I always keep an eye on him.

    It was not his fault. It was mine. He was trying to play not hurt but hurt he did. Two of the three grew up and the one that was more injured never did lay eggs and she died probably with a problem laying. I am not sure. I tried everything but there might have been internal injuries when Zephy got her - even though he soft mouthed her.

    Just keep a watchful eye. I know that airdale is super cute with the chicks and other people have dogs who are good with chickens but you never know how your dog is going to act and it is up to you to keep the dog on a tight leash in regard to trusting him around the peeping babies

    I have similar issues with the cats - mine and the neighbors. I keep a loaded squirt bottle handy. So far I have decreased the tendency to stock my flock and once they are 6 weeks or so old they seem to leave them alone.


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