Introducing dogs to chickens...?


9 Years
Feb 21, 2010
Pilot Hill, CA
We have a 9 yr old whippet and will be getting a 12 week old austrailian shepherd/german shepherd puppy tomorrow. I currently have my 5 week old chicks in a dog cage in the house. The whippet is only somewhat interested in them, but I don't entirely trust him, instinctively he does like to chase things that run away from him. The new pup is going to be for protection of the animals as well as a pet. How do you suggest that I introduce him to his new duty? He has been being fostered by a woman that had chickens and horses, so he has been exposed to them previously with no problems. My plan is to move the chickens into the coop when they are big/old enough. I would like to let them come out to be with us when we are in the yard and in the garden.

Any info is greatly appreciated!


12 Years
May 22, 2007
Greeneville, Tn
Start with the new puppy when chicks are young let him sniff but nothing else. My Shep/collie mix was over 1 year of age when we got our chickens. I let her go in with me every time I took care of them and held on up for her to check out. Scolding if she went to open mouth. I had a big brooder box on the floor since I had 25 chicks. My dog is not over hyper which helps alot and is a bit on the sensitve side too. Which is why I chose here for a farm dog. A hyper harder dog will be much harder to train to chickens as they move and run and fly which will kick in the prey drive of the dog. Never let dogs out with chickens unless you are there. Puppy should never be off leash if they are out until he is over year and half old better if it is 2 years old. Brain kicks in when 3 years old just so you know. I am a trainer as well as retired breeder. You will not see unless lucky calm thinking temperment till at least clost to two years of age. First year they get their height second year is their girth and third year is their brain. At three all that hard training will come together and click and one day you will stand back and remember when he did what ...... LOL Leave it is your best command when it comes to chickens and dogs.

I can now leave mine all day out with my free range chickens with no problems. She know they are her babies. I have seen them sqwat for her and she will put a paw on their back like I do with my hand. She never hurts them and does play chase a little but that is it. I know I am VERY lucky. But then I also knew what I wanted in a dog with temperment and I got it. She is from the pound too do not know who mother or fasther was at all. Temperment and training go a long ways to getting what you want.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 2, 2011
Kansas City, KS
I am starting with a grown dog and new adult hens. He is very excitable, but I know he can be trained. One thing we do is to not leave him out with the chickens unattended. We started with the chickens in the coop and fenced run for a couple weeks. He did not seem too excited. Next we are going to move the chickens to a mobile fenced area to "free range" a bit more. Finally we will allow them to run the yard, we plan to keep a close eye and teach him to leave them alone. We taught him to leave our cat alone, so hopefully this will work with the chickens.


9 Years
Jan 9, 2011
Cloverdale, IN
Good advice already. I'll add to make sure to correct your dog any time they look intensely at your chickens or show an intense interest in them. You can train them to dismiss the chickens like you can train them to dismiss other dogs. My two cocker spaniels are two years old and are doing very well. I've also trained the neighbors "free range" chocolate lab. I was more worried about him but he was easy to train. He patrols our property and keeps predators at bay so I tolerate a lot from him. He's a pretty good dog.


11 Years
Jan 19, 2009
new zealand
you need to do your daily chores around the chickens with your dog by your side on leash, quick correction the instant he/ she shows any wrong intention, looking and curiousity is acceptable, making curly lips, muscle tensioning, trembling, and making sounds are not.... 1 dog at a time.

Bear Foot Farm

11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
Grifton NC
will be getting a 12 week old austrailian shepherd/german shepherd puppy

The new pup is going to be for protection of the animals as well as a pet

I wouldn't put too much hope on that combination working out,

Herding breeds don't make good guardians , as a general rule.​

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