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Introducing puppy to flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mudda, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. mudda

    mudda In the Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2008
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    I have 12 hens and 1 roo and we are getting a new puppy. I want to get them both used to each other, so hopefully the dog will protect them from other dogs in the neighborhood. The chickens are housed in a pen in our barn and let out to a free ranging pen in the day. I was thinking about putting a kennel in the barn for the puppy. Any problems with this, or suggestions? The puppy is a black lab. I am new to chickens, and dogs for that matter.
     
  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    Jun 11, 2007
    Oh boy, sounds like you better do a lot of reading of past threads here on BYC!
     
  3. smpezzi

    smpezzi Songster

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    Jun 4, 2008
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    My dad had a black lab- when he got max he got him to take bird hunting with him because Labs are bird dogs. He was very clear with Max about what belonged to Max and what belonged to him. Fast forward a couple of moves and several years, now Dad and Max were living with a gal in montana who had a small ranch complete with chickens and ducks. Max found it to be great sport to try to get in with the chickens and chase and even better catch them [​IMG] Every day Max was reminded that the chickens were not his. Max didn't mess with the ducks much but that I think is because Archie was meaner than spit and would chase Max back which Max didn't like at all especially when Archie caught him by the heel! you are going to have to be sure that your flock is protected better than Ft. Knox in all honesty. Is it possible to train a lab not to touch the chickens? Possibly since you are getting a pup but just know that when he/she gets the chance natural insticts will likely take over and the chase will be on! Myself I wouldn't let a Lab within 10 feet of my run and or coop no matter how predator proof it is! I am not saying any of this to bring you down or anything like that just wanted to share our experience from Dad and Max. Dad used to beat the snot out of max for even looking at the chickens to wrong way (no I don't advocate that approach AT ALL either) Just remember Labs are bird dogs and that is what they were bred for you aren't going to be able to completely take that instinct out of it! If it gets the chance it will go after your flock!

    That being said I do wish you the Very Best and hopefully your lab won't be like Max the Moose was (he was a GREAT dog by the way just not with the chickens) and also like I said Max wasn't raised with the chickens either so I don't know if it would have been different if he had been!

    Good luck but ALWAYS be on guard! Even my cocker spaniel isn't allowed near my flock! But i am a bit over protective of them too [​IMG]
     
  4. mudda

    mudda In the Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2008
    Central IL
    Thanks, I appreciate your help. I live out in the country and only have one close neighbor, but she has a yellow lab, and some kind of dalmation spaniel mix. I am most worried about her dogs. They are not fenced in, or leashed at all and they pretty much run free all over the area. I thought maybe if we got a dog too, they would stay away. Was that thinking flawed? I guess I will have to do some more reading.
     
  5. Hiedi

    Hiedi Songster

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    Feb 24, 2008
    Upstate SC
    Quote:Your dog can possibly protect the chickens, but your dog can also become a predator to your chickens as well. I think it is good that your dog is a puppy so you can develop (by using training) the behavior that you want from the dog. My suggestion would be to start out with a puppy class or obedience training class, then go from there. Maybe consult a professional dog trainer or someone that knows a great deal about training dogs. From the start, I would suggest that you do not allow any bad behavior from the dog like chasing or barking at your chickens. Also, I would not leave your dog alone with the chickens if you can not observe the behavior of the dog.

    My number one threat to my flock right now is my own dog. He is a three-year-old German Shepherd. My pullets are only 14 weeks so the dog was here first. I am not really sure what he would do to my flock if left alone, but I am not going to take that risk to find out. He has shown some signs of wanting to chase them and has barked at them while they are in the run, but we always correct that behavior, although he has recently gotten a lot better. I do believe that he does discourage other predators from getting in my yard; but at the same time, I still do not trust my dog either.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2008
  6. I would suggest researching a Livestock Guardian Dog. There are certain breeds that have been successfully used to protect the farm livestock without hurting them.

    Here is a link:

    http://www.flockguard.org/
     
  7. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Songster

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Carlsbad, NM
    When we first got our chickens we introduced our dog to them with the dog on a leash. We put her on a leash so that we were there to make corrections on her behavior towards the chickens. Our dog soon realized that the chickens were a part of the family and they were not to be chased or harmed. Everything has worked beautifully for about a year now. We recently got a new puppy about 3 months ago and we are "training" her the same way. We take her with us to feed the chickens with her on a leash. Anytime she seems too interested or excited we correct her. It won't be long and she will be able to run loose out there like our other dog.
     

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