introducing dogs to chickens.....any advice?

mjlabs

In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 30, 2011
51
1
41
West Central Illinois
Will be getting chickens in the spring and when they are old enough to free range they will be met by acouple of big labs. As with all farm animals here we introduce them to make sure they can get along and live together, for example, some cows are territorial and dont want dogs around others OK, but they can protect themselves. Chickens on the other hand....I'm not so sure. Any tips on introducing chickens to dogs ? I know all animals have their own personality but looking for any general advice...Thanks!
 

Pearce Pastures

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 27, 2011
100
6
93
Wanatah, Indiana
I'd be training them to just stay away from the chickens, but I also learned the hard way that chickens are fragile pets. Our dog is very smart, obedient and gentle, but we made the mistake of thinking she would be the same with the birds as she is with all other things. She playfully pounced on one of our Araucanas, killed it, and ever since has thought the chickens were toys. Now she has to be kept separate from them lest we lose any others We should have trained her from the beginning to stay away from them, and even then, I don't know that my dog would have been one to just leave them alone when we weren't around.
 

peteyfoozer

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 5, 2011
129
5
93
SE Oregon
The training will definitely be on the dog's end. It just depends on your dogs' prey drive. My Golden Retriever (who would only bring you a live bird if you threw it for him first) never bothers my chickens at all. My LGD's used to run them down and pluck them when they were puppies, but have since learned they are not to be molested and have become outstanding poultry guardians. Chickens will just sort of putter around where there is stuff to eat and its not scary. My chickens will all come up and eat goodies right next to the dogs, because the dogs haven't chased them. Some of the chickens would actually walk on the LGD's on their way somewhere LOL
 

mjlabs

In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 30, 2011
51
1
41
West Central Illinois
Thanks, I was more curious than anything. We kennel our dogs and the chickens will be fenced in also so not a big deal........ one pet at a time in the yard...haha
 

Mountain Man Jim

Songster
12 Years
Oct 14, 2007
416
11
141
Rocky Mountain Foothills
mjlabs,

I while ago I had written down our procedure for training a puppy to accept the chickens. It's a bit more detailed than you really need with mature dogs but, it might be useful for dogs that are particularly interested in the chickens in a bad why. Let know if you would like me to PM it to you.

Jim
 

mojomamma

In the Brooder
8 Years
May 19, 2011
52
2
41
Alabama
We have had a hard time with our lab mix....not attacking the chickens, but he wants their food!!! he keeps digging under the fence, letting them out and eating the corn and scratch.. So several times we have come home to find chickens all over our yard with the dog just laying back watching them!!! He is about 4 years old.
 

they'reHISchickens

Songster
11 Years
Oct 31, 2008
1,525
27
194
Reading
If your labs are already well trained, I'd say the best thing is to show them the birds are YOURS and they are to guard them as they do all of YOUR things. If they are not well trained, you already have problems:)
With peeps that we hatch, they stay indoors in a brooder the first few days so we can handle them and watch them. Our BRT soon adopts them because she knows they belong to us and she is a gentle soul.
 

Higins00

Songster
11 Years
Nov 19, 2008
522
7
131
Ct


Have some one sit with your dog and you hold one of the chicks/hens, and tell them No repeativly. Let them smell the chick too. Do this a few times and if their reaction is
good let the chick down to run around a little while holding the dog on a leash. Keep telling him no or easy, what ever word you are going to use. Eventually he will be
so used to them he won't care anymore.
 

shadewolfo10

In the Brooder
8 Years
May 31, 2011
91
0
29
It really depends on the dog!

My dog has prey instinct if things run away, but he is also very submissive to humans and very willing to please. He wanted to chase my neighbors bigger chickens, but he was fine with my baby chickens because they were so little and didn't really run away. I also kept correcting him whenever he would look at them, and then praise him when he ignored them. Now he is perfectly fine with them, and recently has found himself a job of sitting out there in the cold with the girls, and 'protecting' the chicken food from the squirrels [although he ends up eating it too
]

My suggestion would be introducing the chicks to the dogs starting from when they are babies, because then when they are older, they will be used to the dogs, and vice versa. This will mean that the chickens will most likely never run away from the dogs as well, which is usually a very triggering action for dogs to chase.

Best of luck!
 
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