I got a question for you guys...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crocodile girl, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. crocodile girl

    crocodile girl Out Of The Brooder

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    Alright, first a bit of background:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=27704

    So, as you can imagine from reading that, my ranch is extremely large. People pay to walk around my "zoo" instead of going to a gym. After all, it's more interesting than a gym, and they get to talk with me as I make my rounds (feeding and cleaning large reptiles).

    My birds are kept in a shed the size of a large garage. My family paid for it for me as a housewarming gift. Normally, most of the birds find their way back at night. But there are always the birds that gather in groups near my reptile enclosures and try to sleep there. Instead of going back with the wagon to go and find everyone, can I use a herding dog? Oftentimes I can see the the chickens, but then they outrun me and hide. I force my birds to find their food on their own, because I feed them very little. There's loads to eat on my land, anyway. But that's why confining them is not an option. I find that the meat tastes better this way, and they grow just as big.

    What herding breeds would you recommend? maybe an australian shepherd? I like the looks of them.
    No suggesting corgis please.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  2. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    I've never heard of anyone using a herding dog for chickens (Doesn't mean it hasn't been done) but I would think it would be very hard to overcome a dogs instincts as a preditor when used around smaller animals, particularly birds because they seem to love to grab them and "play" them to death.
     
  3. GreggsEggs

    GreggsEggs Cooped Up

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    Aug 31, 2007
    Caneyville, KY
    Great story and job/lifestyle.

    Now what was your question?

    I did not see a question asked?
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Chances are with a herding dog, you'll have a bunch of dead chickens. Unlike herd animals, chickens will scatter everywhere when chased as that is how their ancestors avoided being eaten in the wild. Heard animals like cows and such, stick together in large groups to prevent being eaten.

    Most on this board would encourage having layer out 24/7 for the birds to get correct nutrition but if what you are doing works, it works. Florida is one of the rare places where chickens have gone feral and been able to survive. Not the case in most the rest of the US. One thing you can try though, is to toss some scratch into the coop near bed time and have everyone learn that dusk means treats. That might help you get them home. Sounds like they are pretty feral though so you may have had some groups already establish other places on the ranch home.

    Edit: Oh, do not get a dog with nipping instinct... that nip they are born to use on cow ankles to get them moving, will spell for dead chicken.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  5. GreggsEggs

    GreggsEggs Cooped Up

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    OK the question was added after i read it the first time sorry!
     
  6. crocodile girl

    crocodile girl Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been able to train my terrier to not hurt the chickens, I can do it with a herding dog. I've seen loads of dogs coexist with chickens, even protect them. My terrier once attacked a hawk. Never had any hawk problems after that single troublesome hawk was killed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Well, with right training you can probably do it with any dog you choose. Just have never heard of any herd dogs herding chickens. In the preds section, we mostly hear of dogs killing birds here, despite the many byc dog and chicken owners which have both exist together. It's a sticky issue here on the boards. [​IMG]
     
  8. DoctorGoose

    DoctorGoose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You should get a goose. Ours herd our chickens to safety every night, and protect them from other harms, too--e.g. today we had a bit of a windstorm, and the geese put everyone inside while the trees were swaying.
     
  9. crazy4chicsinBC

    crazy4chicsinBC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a great Pyranesse, she doesn't really "herd" my girls but she does protect them and she seems to KNOW when its time for them to be locked in because if I"M a little late on my rounds she lets me know.
    her job is a pet first and foremost but she has taken on the responsibility of looking after the chickens herself.
    The ONLY time my girls are not in their run and are truely free ranging (3 acres we have) is when Suki feels like being outside and I'm home.
     
  10. nccatnip

    nccatnip Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can train a herding dog to herd chickens, it just takes dedication, good obedience training and the right dog. If you wish to pursue this, I would recommend a breed with herding instints but not from herding stock. Their herding drive is too high for chickens, so a breed with inherent instinct would probably work. I have an aussie that I would take out on a long work lead, and with my help he would "herd" the chickens back in the coop. By the end of the third day, the chickens caught on quicker than he did, if they saw him come out of the house, they just went in the coop before we could even approach.
    Maybe speak to a rescue organization, an older dog might fit the bill but I would not recommend off leash for this endeavor.
    Breeds to consider- australian shepherd, german shepherd, collie, sheltie, cattle dog. NOT recommended are Border collies.
     

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