How can I Introduce an Eight Week Old Puppy to my Flock?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TheBantyCoop, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. TheBantyCoop

    TheBantyCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2015
    The California Coast
    Hello all,

    I am adopting an eight week old standard labradoodle this upcoming weekend, and I am seeking advice on how to socialize him to my four banties. Two of them are fairly calm, but the other two scare easily and would become every vocal and flighty if the puppy approached them. I am not trying to train the puppy to be trustworthy with my birds without supervision regularly, but I would like to have the peace of mind that if the puppy were to get out while the birds are ranging, nobody would be hurt. [​IMG]
    Is there a way that I could teach the puppy to leave my girls alone or at least not run straight at them?
    Any advice is much appreciated, thank you!

  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    People raise puppies with birds and do so by bringing the puppy with them to the birds all the time. Leashed at all times of course. Dogs are extremely social and by being with you as you tend the birds will learn they are not playthings or food. Not a dog person myself but imagine it would take a long time to train the dog. The birds should get calmer by his presence in time too. Dogs are still unpredictable and in puppy phase past a year old and would not expect to trust them off a leash until past that time.
  3. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    Yes, Puppy on leash initially. If the birds are in a run or behind a fence after puppy has been around them leashed for a while you can have him off leash to gauge his reactions. You can figure out your own dog. I've had dogs (usually more than one at a time) and poultry most of my life and puppies were introduced as soon as I got them, usually without a leash although I don't recommend that. Once introduced and able to watch their reactions I would trust them with the birds although I was always there for a while.
    It can also depend on what breed you have.
  4. TheBantyCoop

    TheBantyCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2015
    The California Coast
    Thank you both! This is very helpful. I will start with leashed introductions with the birds in the run.
  5. JaeG

    JaeG Flock Master Premium Member

    Sep 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    I'd start further away and teach the pup to be calm around the birds, rewarding him for ignoring them and paying attention to you. Slowly work your way closer so that the puppy associates them with being in a calm state of mind. It gives your chickens time to calm down around a new animal too and get used to him. Throwing him in at the deep end may end in him becoming completely over excited and causing nothing but chaos and frustration. You need to set him up to succeed which means starting easy and working your way up to face to face introductions.

    Before each training session make sure you've drained his energy with a walk and/or a play session. Also, work very hard on the "Leave it" command.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Basic dog training (call back/come, sit, stay, heel, leave it) is necessary to have a safe and happy dog and owner whether you have chickens or not.
    Calm and consistent is key.
    I'd suggest go to a puppy training class if at all owners need to be trained as much(if not more) than the dogs... haha!
    How to behave around other animals is part of basic training, that would include chickens and maybe the trainer could include any extras needed in that regard.
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Leash at some point helps although maybe not at 8 weeks. Pup will need to be controlled so does not go after chickens with you present. It will take a lot more effort and time (18 to 24 months) for dog to be trustworthy without constant oversight. During that interval you will have to work with dog and in most instances expect setbacks where dog causes harm. Be patient and consistent. Reprimanding OK but do not loose your cool even if harm caused. If a bird is killed or even eaten, it is not the end of the world. All of my more recent dogs where at risk of killing and consuming chickens through at least 18 months, sometimes 24 months.
  8. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    One of the first things I did when I brought my border collie home last spring as an 8 week old pup was introduce him to the hens. He got a little too curious and one of my banties chased him a good 15-20 feet. He was more respectful of their space after that. When he was a week or so older and had gotten up the nerve he got curious again. I waited until he was next to me and I called "Here chick chick chick!" and all 8 hens ran straight toward us at top speed. It completely scared the crap out of him. He pretty much kept his distance for months after that. That impression that the hens were bigger and faster than him stuck with him even as he grew. Those months allowed me to get a nice foundation of obedience and off-leash control on him. I've honestly never had him on leash around the birds at all. He's had daily exposure to the birds and everything has been off-leash from day one.

    The birds were penned for most of the winter so this spring when I started letting them out again he was definitely interested in them more. And of course at one year old he's much more confident. I walked around the yard for a couple days with a little switch that I would flick in his direction to make him move off in case he got too close to them. Sometimes if they run I have to call him off or he'll try and flank them but that's the herder in him getting the better of his senses. I did catch him eying one of my banties with a little too much intent and gave him an ecollar correction for it. It's ongoing training with him as he's still young but he's coming along nicely and has been an easy train so far.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Haha! Great story!
    Having good recall is essential....use of ecollar can really help-if used properly.....
    ....and you are a very experienced dog trainer as I recall.

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