How do you introduce your dogs to the chickens?

chicamama

Songster
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
266
1
139
Topanga Ca
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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?
 

CUDA

Songster
11 Years
Mar 4, 2008
1,272
38
181
Michigan
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!
 

opihiman911

Songster
12 Years
Mar 19, 2007
283
9
154
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.

Cory
 

CarriBrown

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jan 21, 2007
6,629
70
281
Thousand Oaks, California
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.
 

CUDA

Songster
11 Years
Mar 4, 2008
1,272
38
181
Michigan
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.

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Ga Chicken Mom

Songster
12 Years
Jul 24, 2007
314
4
154
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.
 

chcknrs

Songster
11 Years
Mar 7, 2008
646
5
151
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.
 

hooligan

Songster
12 Years
Aug 20, 2007
1,979
10
169
Arkansas
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!
 

Dixiedoodle

Songster
12 Years
Apr 14, 2007
2,147
12
211
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
 

Rafter 7 Paint Horses

Songster
13 Years
Jan 13, 2007
1,316
37
181
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.

Jean
 

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