Introducing chickens to resident dogs


Jul 13, 2020
Southern Arizona
How do you introduce your dogs to chickens?

Our dogs are big (60+ lb) shelter mutts. They're mellow, well-behaved, middle-aged. They despise cats and express mild interest in wild rabbits when we're on walks. They don't show any interest in chasing wild birds, e.g. roadrunners or turkeys.

One dog likes to eat lizards. 🤢 He was a stray and I assume that's what he did to survive. Sometimes he will still hunt and eat them in the yard and the other dog will join in the hunt (we feed them plenty of very good food, I promise, they do not need to eat lizards)! Otherwise I haven't seen either demonstrate much of a prey drive.

We pass by other coops and chickens on our neighborhood walks. The dogs sniff at the fence and the chickens will come right up to the fence (!) and the dogs don't show any interest in them, in fact they get bored if we stop there for too long. "We don't care about these birds, can't we continue on the walk?" 😄 Of course it might be different if the chickens are in our yard but I'm hoping this is an indication the dogs can be indifferent to them.

We never leave the dogs in the backyard (where the coop/run is being built) unsupervised, we're always out there with them. The coop and run will be completely enclosed in hardware cloth and will have a predator apron. The dogs will not be allowed inside the coop/run.

Any advice on helping establish the chickens as "friends not food?"
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Crossing the Road
8 Years
Jun 23, 2013
The Big Island/Hawaii
It's really hard to say, only you know what your dogs are capable of and their personalities but the best thing to do is making sure the chickens coop/run is secure. Hardware cloth is good, having a predator apron great ... Unfortunately some think chicken wire is enough but it's really just to keep the chickens in and won't keep anything out.

I keep "backyard" chickens (3 -6) in a confined Chicken House (8x12x7) that is open air; chicken wire on all four sides & metal roofing; it does get hot & humid here. I recently adopted a dog (Pit/Catahoula mix) and he basically leaves them alone. Although if they were to get out, know he'd chase.

He loves baby chicks ... I raise them in the patio brooder, letting them out and they're fine. He brought a baby bird he found in the yard to me once, wet but intake. Chicks are now hens in the CH, he'll run up to the enclosure, they spook and he runs off. I let RC in the CH a few times, he's more interested in looking for poop to eat (gross).

It's a matter of conditioning the dogs to the chickens. When you put the chicks/chickens into the coop/run, take the dogs to see what they do and supervise for a while until you're comfortable with the situation.


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Jul 13, 2020
Southern Arizona
Haha, those pictures are so cute! I love a brindle. One of our dogs is white with brown brindle patches. When I was growing up a friend of mine had a gray brindle horse, like the one below. She was so beautiful.


Your photos got me thinking that maybe we should let the dogs inside the coop/run before we get the chickens. They can sniff all around and get acquainted with it, so it's not some intriguing forbidden mystery.
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Dec 24, 2019
Mid Missouri
Here's my controversial recipe for accordance of chook and K9.

This worked extremely well for me, and in the course of one afternoon, the hounds realized exactly what was expected of them.

WARNING : Do NOT try this unless you already have excellent control of your K9s, and are not in a condition, or situation to IMMEDIATELY intervene !!! Your mileage may vary !!!


1 Pack of three adult dogs.

1 Flock of new adult chickens.

One afternoon.

1 mouth full of feathers.

1 Big stick.

1 Booming voice.

1 leash ..... Optional

In a fairly large, confined space, mix alpha dog with chickens, while other K9s are watching. Use leash if desired.

With a heavy hand, employ big stick.

Remove feathers from dogs mouth, while using booming voice.

Rinse, and repeat with other K9s.

If all goes correctly, the consequential K9s will be reluctant to acquire the mouth full of feathers.

If not, employ the big stick, and booming voice until desired consistency is achieved.

Seriously, this was my experience, with my dogs, and literally took about an hour. Once the dogs realized what a tasty treat chicken poop is, they followed them around, and are now best friends, and excellent protectors !


IMG_2954 (1024x682).jpg

Once the novelty of the poop eating wore off, within a few weeks, it was fairly easy to discourage them from foraging for feces !!! Now they only occasionally partake in this disgusting practice, and just a "look" from me makes them spit, and move along.

No animals were harmed in this exercise.


May 25, 2021
My late Irish wolfhound mix came from a bad home with very little socialization/exposure and had a crazy prey drive. She went after anything from a mouse, to wild turkeys to a deer once! I was so worried when I got my chickens and I was convinced she’d chase them but once again she had proved me wrong! We started out with them in the coop and run and she would do circles all around the building trying to get closer. She wasn’t aggressive or anything she was just curious. We then brought them out and held the chickens while she got to smell them over, I’d recommend using a muzzle for this if it’s a bite risk for your dog. Once the birds were free ranging we’d use a short leash and sit out there with Cricket and the birds and let them do their thing, calling her name every now and again to help her disengage if she got to focused and giving her a treat. We moved to a longer leash and did the same until she had no interest in them and then we let her lose with them. I liked to scatter treats in the grass and let both the chickens and the dog eat them as it indirectly rewards them for being calm around the birds. I’d say breed plays a bit in the way dogs act with poultry but proper introductions and management is key to maintaining a good flock balance.

Here’s Cricket on the first day with the birds.

And here she is a few months later sharing her beef bone with the hens!


Always remember, when in doubt just to leash and create distance!

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