Introducing a Dog to the Flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by countrychickengirl, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. countrychickengirl

    countrychickengirl The Delaware Project

    Dec 4, 2009
    Hi all! I hope I am posting this in the right section - if not, I apologize - I am still getting my "forum legs" [​IMG]

    I just married mazdacrzy and he has a flock that includes 2 RIR hens, 2 sex-link hens and a RIR rooster - they are all the same age - about 10-11 months old. All of the birds are friendly and have appropriate housing. However, I have a 6 year old dachshund (Bella Serra) that has never seen such a sight and was wondering what the best way would be to introduce her to the flock and how to go about keeping everyone happy. Right now, Bella is indoors, but we are hoping to give her more access to the backyard, which would include the flock.

    Any thoughts or ideas??

    Thanks a million!!![​IMG]
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Key word is SLOWLY. Sit with her and the chickens. Start with her on your lap or sitting on the ground with your arms around her, with the chickens pecking around. Sprinkle treats if needed so they'll come near. Work your way up to a short leash, sitting out there with them all. Correct her if she shows signs of aggression toward them. You may never be able to trust her around them, or she may end up great. I feel very confident with my male dog around my chickens. My female dog...I don't think so. I don't see bloodlust in her eyes, but she's a chaser. So she's either on a leash tied to something when she's out with them, or unleashed, but closely supervised by me. She knows she's not supposed to chase them, but she's young and hardheaded, and can be sneaky if she doesn't think she's being watched. Hopefully you know your dog well enough to read her body language as to how she'll react to the chickens. If possible, I'd work with her daily for several weeks, even if it's just for 5 minute time spans. Good luck! I hope she does well!
  3. OhMyItsAndyy

    OhMyItsAndyy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2009
    West England
    I agree with teach except i'd show the dog the chickens through their run first, just as a precaution. My grandma's dog is always here and I never trusted him with them alone until years after he was used to them. But each dog is different, but just make sure you have a good hold of her [​IMG]
  4. Bravo

    Bravo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2009
    Another thing is when you are introducing them together be careful what words you use.

    By that I mean, if "chicken" is a favorite word associated with treats you might want to think twice about what you refer to the girls as. [​IMG]

    I did that by accident and you could see my dog literally thinking something along the lines of "I wonder if they taste like chicken?" LOL Now we refer to the girls as "puppies" and they are just another member of the pack [​IMG]
  5. mags2009

    mags2009 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2009
    Our Golden Retriever, 'Jake' is AWESOME with the chickens, he even protects them. We had a neighbors dog come over this summer, and started to bark and growl at them (he couldn't get to them though, they were well protected in their run) and Jake went up to the intruder and got in his face and growled and got him to leave. I can bring Jake into the run with us, or even the coop, and the chickens will come up to him now and peck him and he just looks at them, like: "why are you pecking at me?" I am your protector!! But I realize Goldens are different. They have a soft heart. Jake has always known that if we want it, he has to accept it. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
  6. KKatknap

    KKatknap Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2009
    Albany, OR
    Be very careful and go very slowly. Personally, I'm not sure I would ever trust a dachsund with my chickens. They were bred to chase badgers into their den. Granted, they haven't done that in several generations, I'm sure, but it is what they were bred for. They are hunting dogs. Their prey drive is generally very strong.

    My suggestion would be to make sure your chickens are VERY secure when you take your dog out. And don't let her off the leash around them. For a long time. IF it can be done, it will be done over a long period of time, and you don't want to risk mixing them before you are certain. If your checkens are always free roaming in the yard, I would make a nice secure doggy run.

    Again, I would just plan on keeping your dog and the chickens in separate worlds. We do that with our dogs and it has worked out well for everyone's survival. Some breeds do better than others. Yours will be trickier.
  7. countrychickengirl

    countrychickengirl The Delaware Project

    Dec 4, 2009
    Thanks so much everyone for all of your suggestions - y'all brought up some great points that I had not thought of!!! I will take everything into consideration - Hope you all have a great and joyous holiday season!![​IMG]
  8. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Dachshunds were bred to kill small, fast moving animals. There are exceptions, but fool yourself. Odds are that you will not be able to leaave them together unsupervised. Some doxies are OK with chickens, but they are the exception.
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    My 11 year old mini-dachshund surprised the heck out of me when he killed one of my chickens. The chickens are new to us - got 'em as chicks in early October - so I understood there would be an adjustment period. I never let him into the bathroom where I kept the brooder. Once the chickens were old enough to put outside, I figured they were larger and less subject to being mangled or killed by a small dog.... Boy, did I feel awful when I left the gate open "just for a second" while filling a feeder! Zorro went for the largest pullet (they were only 8 wks old at the time). After that, I was much more careful, but miscalculated a second time. Zorro not only killed another chicken, but he wouldn't give it back to me - I had to chase him and corner him to get it from him.

    Although he's no longer spending ALL his outside time barking at the chickens in the run, and trying to find a place to get through the fence, I know I cannot trust him. My 4 yr old mini-dachshund, Dooley, is much more mellow and ONLY reacts when a chicken flaps and flies. Nonetheless, I am extremely vigilant about the gate and those dogs (whom I love, I just can't trust 'em around my chickens).
  10. Bantimna

    Bantimna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2009
    South Africa
    I agree with Teach1rusl, but I don't trust dog's with chickens.

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