How do you manage dogs and chickens?

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Larkspur88, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. Larkspur88

    Larkspur88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2011
    South Carolina
    I'm getting rather angry! I have three jack Russell terriers and 30 chickens. Have had 4 casualties since I started raising them. I got my first ones in march. And I can't name the close calls or how many times my dogs have pursued them and I have shouted and they've thankfully listened to me. I know it's the breed. I've shown my dogs, done lure coursing, etc. They love the game of chasing and catching and well...killing.

    But it's down right ANnoying!!! Like just now when I open the coop door with the water bucket in my arms and the smallest chick runs between my legs. Of course I put the water container down and catch the chick. My dogs chase the smallest ones before the big ones! And in a split second I have 15 chickens in my backyard loose with my 3 dogs.

    At this point my eye is twitching as my barred rocks wiggle their butts and run off to play in the grass (they are always the first to bust out the door!!!) and I calmly get my dogs inside after I close the coop door (before my pheasants get out...because I will never catch them. They're still chicks and camouflage in the woods)

    So now I am typing and can see a bunch of flashy bad hens and young Roos spitefully enjoying my backyard and they don't seem to realize they could have triggered a massacre with one wrong move just a few minutes ago! Agh!

    Almost at the point where I want to rehome 2 of the 3 terriers but I also think in the perspective I am a military wife. I might be sent somewhere eventually where no chickens can go and I will be happy to have my 3 devilish dogs. :hmm
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Oh I'm sorry - it does sound like you're in a bind. In your situation I'd probably keep the dogs but not let them out with the chickens - and I mean ever. Is there a way to fence off your yard so that when the dogs go out the backdoor they are on the dog side of a fence, and when you let the chickens out to free-range, they are on the chicken side of the fence? I'm basically picturing dividing your yard in half with a fence that has a gate you can go through when you need to tend the chooks. Well, in my backyard that would be possible because its not that big - maybe that wouldn't work for you?

    It is hard when you already have dogs - and breeds that are not good around prey animals - when you get the chickens. I got lucky with my old dog that he wasn't interested in chasing the chooks when we got them, and then when we got our new puppy a month ago, we chose her based on her lack of interest in chasing them. In other words, during our trial period if she had shown an inclination to chase, we would have kept looking. Nevertheless, I don't leave the dogs outside WITH the chooks unattended just in case things get out of hand when the people aren't around.

    In your situation I'd be seriously looking at fencing or even taking the dogs out front to potty on leash rather than ever letting them around the poultry in the backyard. As you acknowledged in your OP, they are terriers and just doing what terriers do so you will unlikely to train them not to want to chase them - and trust that they won't still let nature take over when you're not looking.

    I sincerely wish you luck....
  3. pawsplus

    pawsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2008
    Middle TN
    My dogs have zero contact w/ my chickens--and my dogs are obedience trained. I just don't take any risks w/ those I love! My chickens have their own predator-proof run and my dogs have their own nice fenced yard, where they are unless they are indoors w/ me or outside w/ me. IMO the best way to manage this is to truly MANAGE it--i.e., not allow contact. Dogs are predators, period. We already ask them to be so much that they are not. . . IMO it's unfair to ask too much of them.
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    With a fence. My chickens and my dogs do not share space, ever.

    Jack Russels are extremely high energy, high prey drive. I think you will be pulling your hair out trying to get them to co-exist in the same space with chickens. Especially with more then one dog, they feed off each others energy and when one starts misbehavin' they all join in the fun.

    The chickens need a safe space of their own where they can be out and about without being torn apart by the dogs.

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