How do I keep my dog from chasing my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lil chicklets, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. lil chicklets

    lil chicklets Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2016
    Hi,
    In the past month my family and I have adopted a medium dog mix from the pound.
    We introduced her to our fowl when she got settled.
    We have six week old ducks and chickens free ranging in the day time around our yard.
    My dog (Lily) is just fine with the ducks and only watches them but the chickens just drive her crazy.
    I don't know why she likes the chickens so much but one day she got off her leash and ran to the chickens and
    chased them all over the yard. She didn't hurt any of them, just really enjoyed chasing them.
    I would really appreciate if you could give me a few pointers on this subject.
    Thanks a bunch!
    lil chicklets
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Usually a fence between them is best. When the chickens run, the prey drive kicks in and the dog can't help themselves.
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Sounds like it's time for some serious, intensive training. There are lots of threads on here with good, helpful suggestions on how to do so. Dogs don't just naturally want to protect the chickens. At least not all of them. Some do, some have too high a prey drive, and some just need to be trained to do so. Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. lil chicklets

    lil chicklets Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2016
    Okay, I will keep that in mind. Thanks so much![​IMG]
    I will certainly try that. Thanks a !bunch
     
  5. saulsx

    saulsx Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2016
    Sounds like you had a good scare. Any idea what breed your dog is? That'll play into the prey drive and chasing issues.

    Here's our recent experience, very similar but ended badly. Hope you find it helpful; sorry about the length [​IMG]

    We just got our first chickens about a week ago (we did have a small bantam that we lost, pretty sure to a hawk). 4 RIRs that we plan on keeping in a tractor most of the year. We'd rather have a fixed coop and let them free range. Too many predators: hawks, feral cats, free-roaming dogs, coyotes, raccoons. We are converting part of a shed/garage into a coop that'll have an attached and covered run that we'll use as needed and for winter.

    For now, we're taking the chickens out a little while each day and putting them in a small tractor to let them scratch around in the grass while we're out gardening and working in the yard. Kinda like supervised play time. We'll put them into the large tractor that has an attached coop in another week or so, when they're big enough.

    We have a dog that we rescued about a year-and-a-half ago. He's a lab-pit mix. Really gentle and mild-mannered around us and the kids, and most other people. Very high prey drive, though, will chase anything, and is very opportunistic. Squirrels, birds, raccoons, rabbits, cats. He hates trucks and vans, especially Fed Ex for some reason, and barks like mad whenever a vehicle drives by the house. Bad experience when he was a puppy, I guess.

    We learned very early on that he needed to be kept on a leash. Don't have a dog run at the moment. We keep him in the sun room and take him out on the leash for walks and to do his business. Started him early with leash training and working on curbing that prey drive, at least as much as possible. I don't think there's much we can do personally, given his breeding. He generally responds well to finger snapping and to that "anhk!" sound. Other than that, he's driven and tunes out the rest of the world when he sees something he wants to get at.

    I pretty much knew before we got chickens that our own dog would end up being the biggest threat. We've tried introducing him on the leash a couple of times, but he locks and even starts licking his chops. And once he locks, gives chase, or has in his mouth whatever it is he's chasing, no amount of commanding, yelling etc., is gonna stop it.

    Anyway, I had the chickens out in the mini tractor a couple of days ago while me and the kids worked around the garden. My wife took the dog out on the leash to go potty, he saw the chickens and locked on. She gave him the "No" command and tried to redirect, but he pulled, and pulled so hard, the collar actually broke. Ended up knocking the tractor over, chasing one of the chickens and getting it into his mouth. It took seconds, and the chicken was dead before either of us even got over there. I was only about 20 feet away from it.

    So, that's a lesson learned the hard way. My suggestion would be similar to what we're doing and what others have said. Make sure the tractor and/or coop is secured. Keep a watchful eye on things, have better control over the situation, and unfortunately, treat our dog as a threat when we take him out. He's now in a harness and we're using a more heavy duty leash.

    We're gonna continue trying to improve leash walking, curbing that prey drive, and going back to some more training. If that fails, then he'll be completely segregated and we'll scratch the notion of ever having him around the chickens.
     
  6. lil chicklets

    lil chicklets Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2016
    Thank you so much for the comment!
    I'm pretty sure that Lily (my dog) doesn't have that much of a prey drive, but she sure loves to chase the them.
    She doesn't lock up of start licking, but she gets very excited and starts barking or growling. I still don't get why Lily isn't bothered by the ducks but maybe I'll never know.
    Thanks a bunch for the info! Have a great rest of the day.[​IMG]
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Maybe they're not as much fun. [​IMG] The last dog we had used to go "chicken bowling". He'd wait until they were all kind of in a bunch, out scratching and pecking and doing other chickeny things, then RUN right through the middle of them, scattering them everywhere. Never touched them. Then he'd turn around and look like, "Huh - I wonder how that happened?"
     
  8. lil chicklets

    lil chicklets Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2016
    Lily sort-of does the same thing. When our chickens are together she shoots through them (making them explode everywhere in every direction.) and then starts chasing the nearest
    one to her. She hasn't caught any of them yet and I don't think that she would or could, but if she did I highly doubt that she
    would do any thing to it. What did you do to stop your dog from chasing your chickens?
    Thanks so much!
     
  9. saulsx

    saulsx Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2016
    You're welcome! Our dog may actually be a labrador retriever hound mix, not a lab-pit. The chickens are like bouncing squeaky toys to him at the moment. We've kept him separated for the most part this past week, let him sniff around their area some, re-directing him with treats like a toddler and trying to get him to understand they're ours.

    I would wanna stop the barking and growling. Has she had any obedience training? Understand "leave it", "sit", "no"? Find the style/method that works best for you, make sure you stick with it, and give it some time. Maybe try to find somebody that can help you get her trained.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
  10. lil chicklets

    lil chicklets Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2016
    Hello!
    I have taught Lily sit, no, and stay is pretty much learned. Recently, Lily got off her leash and chased our chickens. This time, she caught one of them.
    She didn't do anything to it, but came to her sense's when we got close to her and were kind of shouting. I believe in the positive reinforcement training, so we use a time out because she is very much of a people dog. Usually, 5min out on our deck will have her understand that what she did was wrong.
    What do you do to punish your dog?
    I can't wait for your reply!
    Thanks!
     

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