How to manage chickens with a dog

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jlj1212, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. jlj1212

    jlj1212 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 28, 2013
    Hello, we just got chickens today, spent the last two weeks building a coop and doing all the proper research and getting everything set up accordingly the only thing we didn't really look into was how to introduce our Dog, a chocolate lab 6 years old, to the chickens, The chickens DO NOT have free run of the yard, rather they just have a coop and a chicken run. So far our dog sits and salivates at the chicken run. He has only been back there with us so far, ( I am also way more worried about this then my boyfriend, he says "Ben will learn") if hes in the front half of the yard and the chickens aren't making noise he doesn't even notice them. There is also a space between the coop/run and the fence ( there is plywood on one side so neighbors dog doesn't sit and bark at them all day) so our dog runs behind the coop behind the plywood and then tries to get at the chickens from the front of the coop ( right now that is the corner most far from us/dog and where they are hanging out until they get used to us). We tend to leave our dog in the yard unsupervised when we are not home, how can we prevent him from trying to get at chickens when we are not home ?
    ( also more info, we have chicken wire around entire run- connecting to coop, we buried it about a foot underground also so he WOULD have an extremely hard time getting thru it, should he decide to dig)
    He doesn't usually dig but does sometimes.

    We also have the neighbors dog over almost daily so whatever we do to train our dog I am assuming we should do the same to that dog, ( he is a husky wienihimer <sorry for botching spelling of this breed> mix)

    In addition this weekend we are dog sitting a dog that is a boxer/german sheppard mix, I am basically assuming that since we just got the chickens to not leave the dogs unsupervised just yet. So if we go somewhere to leave the dogs at neighbors or inside.

    Please educate me on any and all info! If I am wrong in any of my assumpsitions please let me know

    Thanks !
  2. ToManyBuffs

    ToManyBuffs New Egg

    Jun 24, 2013
    Did you bury your fence? I have a lab and boykin and both were overcome with instinct. I built my run out of welded wire and buried it two feet. Once they realize they cant get to the chicks theyll stop trying. Negative reinforcement helps too. Shock collar etc.
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Oh boy, lots to think about here. Given the breeds of your dog, your neighbor's dog, and the one you're dog-sitting, I want to say that your dog is the least of your concerns. The neighbor's dog is a mix of breeds that tend to have high prey drives. Not sure about the one you're watching for the weekend. When you say you have "chicken wire" do you mean the octaganal-shaped wire fencing like this:{keyword}&gclid=CIzcve2bobkCFeoWMgodRnoATQ ? If so, you really need to either replace it or reinforce it with hardware cloth and/or welded wire fencing. We use welded wire fencing with 2"x 4" rectangles with 1/2" hardware cloth around the bottom 2' of the run to keep little ones from getting out, and cats, coons and other assorted critters from sticking paws in. A dog, raccoon, fox, coyote or any other determined animal can rip right through chicken wire. The first thing I would do (after putting up sturdy fencing) would be to run a couple of strands of electric wire around the coop and run. At the very least, it will help discourage the dogs from trying to jump at them through the fence. This could be a permanent thing, or until you get your dog trained. That's the next step. There are many posts on training your dog to leave the chickens alone. Even with the best of training, though, you have another thing to think about. I always say that dogs and kids are alike in the fact that no matter how well-behaved they are, they forget everything they know when they're with other dogs or kids. Your dog - alone - may be completely trustworthy around your chickens, but if you get a visiting dog that doesn't know better and starts to chase, the pack mentality may set in and your dog may join in. I personally would not leave any of these dogs - either singly or together in any combination - unsupervised in the yard where your chickens are, even if they are penned. At least not without some heavy-duty training for your dog. Maybe then. But not with two of them in the yard, especially if one is untrained.

    ETA - We had a black lab for 10 years and he never, ever was a problem with the chickens. But he was trained as a pup, starting when he was 7 weeks old. An older dog will take more time. Especially a bird dog.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  4. nan4848

    nan4848 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    Des Moines, IA
    Chicken wire will not keep a determined dog out. You need hardware cloth or something stronger. Especially an unsupervised dog. He is a bird dog.

    He shouldn't be allowed around the chickens unsupervised. He should also be corrected immediately when he shows aggressive/excited behavior towards the chickens. You need to make sure he understands they are off limits.

    The dog can be trained to leave them alone, but it will take time and patience.
  5. Fat Man

    Fat Man Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 14, 2010
    Chicken wire is for containing chickens everything else can tear through it pretty quickly. I'd replace it with welded wire and perhaps run a hot wire about 12 inches of the ground to deter stray dogs.
  6. jlj1212

    jlj1212 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 28, 2013
    Ok thanks on that feedback with the chicken wire, my bf uncle told us to use that as that's what he uses for his, maybe he double layers or something..
    Spent the last hour with the dog outside by the chicken coop, and the neighbors dog was over, DOGS were much better , will slowly start giving them more space and see how they react.. maybe having the shock collar on our dog when it's just him will work so he learns..
    Thanks so much guys!

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