How do you introduce your dogs to the chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicamama, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. chicamama

    chicamama Songster

    Mar 12, 2008
    Topanga Ca
    At some point, I'd like to let my chicks (they are 1 month old) out in the yard to scratch around duriing the day. I have an older German shepherd (very sweet and one young Mini Schnauzer. Both are cat and kid friendly (although the schnauzer like to play with the cats a bit rough at times). Any thoughts on introducing?
  2. CUDA

    CUDA Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Take them with you outside, and stay with them so nothing bad happens. Never leave them alone with your birds until they have been trained to not go after them. You may want to leash your dogs too so you can stop them. It is a long process getting dogs to not go after chickens, and some never do get it. Just work with them, and don't be too hard on them if they mess up. Good luck!
  3. opihiman911

    opihiman911 Songster

    Mar 19, 2007
    I too have been working with my dogs being around little chicks.
    I have been putting them on a leash and taking them into the coop and my dogs stay right by my side. I also make them lay down and pick up the little chicks and put them on top of the dogs and let them run and jump all over the dogs and they just ignore the little ones. Been going really good that I have started to put them on the leash, but drop it and let them wander around. I have also locked both dogs in the back of my truck and put several of the chicks and hens in the truck with them, they don't seem to mind.
    Outside the coop they are off the leash and I will occasionally let my older hen and chicks outside to roam around. I frequently pick them up and pet them and pet my dogs at the same time.
    I'm at the point now that I have been going around the corner of the house so my dogs can't see me and I just keep peeking at them to make sure they behave.....and they have been.
    They only time I seen them interested in the chicks is when they start to fight or something startles them and they suddenly take off running or flying. Then the dogs will perk up and take interest, but so far hasn't gone after them.
    I'm not at the point of 100% trusting them with my girls when I'm not supervising them, but they know that the chickens are mine and not to mess with them.
    Good luck, you can still teach old dogs some manners.

  4. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    I trust my dogs 100%, but it took a lot of time. As far as the dogs are concerned, the chickens own the back yard. They are not allowed to look at the chickens, show any interest, take food from them, etc. I have one hen that will go nose to beak for a piece of food. The dog ALWAYS forfits! The dogs (I have three) will also lay down if there is a chicken around... a sign of subordination.
    But, it starts way sooner than that. Your dog has to be 100% obedient before you can even think about putting them with chickens.
  5. CUDA

    CUDA Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Well, there is a difference between not hurting the chickens, and protecting them too. I am currently working on training a GP puppy for the latter. A good dog can be the difference between your chickens and those 4 legged predators, including other dogs! I have an excellent varmint dog, but you can't 100% trust her with loose chickens without supervision, and she is a very well behaved dog. Some dogs you just can't break of doing this. GP's are bred specifically for protecting farm animals, and this one was born on a chicken yard.

  6. Ga Chicken Mom

    Ga Chicken Mom Songster

    Jul 24, 2007
    My 4 Dobes were introduced to the 9 chicks from the beginning. I would let the Dobes look at the chicks and smell them all the while saying, "mom's chickens". I supervised everybody when the chicks first started free ranging. Its been 9 months and Dobes and hens coexixt peacefully. The Dobes had a lot of prior obedience and conformation training. One of the RIR hens pecks my DH's 95 lb male and he chases her a couple of feet - she deserves it. Dobes are protection dogs, not sporting. I would worry more about your schnauzer than the GS.
  7. chcknrs

    chcknrs Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    My lab mix and rhodesian ridgeback are already fine with my 3 week old chicks, but the mini dacschund is psycho and may never be good with them.
  8. hooligan

    hooligan Songster

    Aug 20, 2007
    Quote:My bfs Doxie killed 4 of our chickens in our living room, so I hear ya on that. For the most part our other dogs are fine with them. Right now I have the chicks in a guinea pig cage in the living room (as their brooder) and Bettie keeps trying to shove her toy at them and get them to play with her. Poor girl just hasn't figured it out yet!
  9. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    I had a English Setter (who was a wonderful bird dog) that was great with chickens and geese. The chicks would hop around on him and the hens would peck at him..I have a doxie that I would not trust off leash because she is jealous. Dixie
  10. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    Everyone's advice is very good.

    I think it is always easier to start a puppy with chickens than an adult dog, unless the adult dog is very well trained.
    I also think that a game hen with chicks is a great training device!! I just let the pups walk past her chicks, and the hen takes care of the training. LOL

    Seriously, though, it does take some time and lots of patience. My GD has a mutt (Blue Heeler X Border Collie) that is raising her 3rd litter of pups in the same pen as the chickens. I kept 2 of the pups from this last litter and they are still in with the chickens. These are my laying hens, and I incubate the eggs, so they won't be left alone with baby chicks. They have had the game hen lesson, though, and they stay far away from her when I let them out to play in the grass. When they get big enough, I will move each pup to her own chicken pen. They are also getting a lesson from our sheep who have new lambs. The pups are doing great and they will be 8 weeks old on Sunday March 16.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: