How to introduce an adult LGD (Maremma Sheepdog) to chickens so he will guard them like the goats?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 29, 2013
Hi there, so we have an adult Maremma Sheepdog who has lived his whole life with our goats and is GREAT with them. We have had 2-10 goats on the property with him since we first got him, and are just now decided to get back into chickens. We currently have (6) 3 day old chicks in the basement, and have an Egg Cart'n on order... and its occurred to me that theres probably a good way to do this... so... any suggestions?


The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 26, 2008
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
My Coop
Not sure what the best way is, except the obvious.

And it depends on how well trained your dog is.

Do you have any cues that you use with the dog when strangers visit?

You know, when he is barking etc. and you tell him to hush, that this person is friendly?

I would put the chicks in a cage and put the cage where the dog is, and whenever he goes to look at the cage, you give the same cue.

Do this once a day until the chicks are old enough to go in their coop.

When the chicks are in their coop, walk out with the dog and do the same.

When it is time to let the chickens free range, sit out there with a pellet gun (one with the right amount of power, so it hurts but doesn't break the skin, try it out on your leg first) or you can use a shock collar. If the dog does anything you don't like, shoot him (obviously not near the face).

I would also try this a couple of different ways over the course of a week. At least once, have someone rile up the chickens, so that they run and flap and squawk. That is highly likely to get the killer instinct started up in your dog. If he still doesn't try to kill your chickens at that point, then you are most likely good to go.

Our dog is a poodle Australian Shepard mix. He killed maybe three of our chickens, and then we did the week long training with the pellet gun.

It has now been a few years and he hasn't killed another one.

I am sure that several people will be totally horrified that I shot my dog. But I want you all to realize that pellet guns come in many different strengths, and we did try it out at super short range on our own legs before we used at much father range on the dog. I just needed something that would have an extremely fast response time, would get the dogs attention, but not truly hurt him, and it is what I already had lying around. Also, you need something that you can hide, so the dog thinks that it is more "the wrath of God" not "I can only kill the chickens when my owner isn't looking".

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