Introducing the dogs to the baby chicks - bad or good idea?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by yorick, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. yorick

    yorick Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 26, 2009
    We have started our new adventure of raising chickens. Lots of work to do - build the coop, design the yard, learn a lot...

    We bought 4 chicks (now about 10 days old) and placed them in a makeshift brooder that I build out of an old dog crate. They are comfortable and warm. We have two dogs: A 56 lb american pitbull and 20 lb terrier. Both are well socialized with people, other dogs and even a cat in our neighboorhood. Both have exhibited an instinct to chase birds and squirrels in our yard. Both are house dogs.


    My goal is to get the dogs and chicks to get use to each other so that 1) the dogs don't chase and hunt them and 2) the chickens are comfortable with the dogs roaming around the yard. I'd like to get some opinions on my plan and any suggestions. Here is my progressive steps:

    NOTE: All activity will be supervised with me in sight.

    Week 1 - Hold the chicks one by one in my hand while the dogs get close to smell them

    Week 2-4 - Put the chicks down on a table or floor where the dog can get close enough to sniff (This is the stage we are at now)

    Week 5 - Have outside yard play time without the dogs

    Week 6-8 - Dogs roaming in the yard with the chicks

    Week 9 - Move pullets into the coop with freedom in the enclosed coop run and dogs outside the coop run (let the pullets get use to their new home)

    Week 10 - Allow pullets to roam around the yard in and out of the coop with the dogs roaming around

    Our smaller dog already lunged at one of the chicks during Week 1 at which point I promptly snapped her and watched her walk away. She (small dog) is now able to be around the chicks without lunging - probably afraid I'll correct her again. Large dog has not lunged at all and seems way too curious.

    So, any suggestions? Is this a good plan?
  2. I think that sounds good!

    Ours got used to our dogs but then they thought a fox was our dog so the chickens did not really give an alarm call when some of them were killed:(

  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    It does sound like a good plan. I would always supervise if the dogs and chickens are out at the same time, even a year from now. I wish you luck. With my male dog, I think that eventually he will be fine out with the chickens as long as I'm out and about. But while my female does fine with me right there close by, I have a feeling I'll have to put her on a lead while out and about w/the chickens. Hope it works out for you!
  4. chickens4me

    chickens4me Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2008
    South Carolina
    I have held my baby chicks in my hands while bending down to "show" my two dogs, a poodle & a yorkie. They sniff at them & then I pull them away and say a little gruffly, "No, they are Mine. Mine." I repeat this a few times with them.

    After trying this with them, they still get curious about them, but tend to leave them alone.

    I am not sure this would work with all dogs though...
  5. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 20, 2008
    Central Ga.
    My dogs had full access to the chicks in the brooder. Through the screen. Take the novelty out of the situation as soon as you can. The dog should be disinterested after a bit. My dogs were pretty much used to them as they grew up and I made it very clear they were not to be messed with. So far they get along pretty well. I would say the dogs tolerate the chickens.
  6. Plain Old Dee

    Plain Old Dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2009
    Seminole, OK
    We've never really tried to raise baby chicks, but one of our leghorn hens went broody one time (years ago). She hatched out four babies and was done with them. We brought the babies back to the house and put them in the living room floor - without thinking what our blue heeler would do to them. Blue (the dog) had never shown any interest in the chickens at all. They were with us before she came along, so to her, they were just part of the way things are supposed to be. But babies - any babies - are another matter. Blue was notorious about babies. She only had one litter of puppies, and raised six puppies and three baby rabbits. She stole the rabbits from somewhere - I'm not sure where. A couple of years later, she kept stealing the neighbor's dog's puppies. We'd hear them up under the house and have to take them back home - nearly every day. Needless to say, the baby chicks immediately became hers. She laid down in the floor with them, and they snuggled up against her belly - and the whole bunch, Blue included, were happy as clams. A few days later, we made the mistake of thinking the babies would be better off with another hen that had hatched out a couple of babies. The hen accepted them, but then all of the babies just disappeared. Probably the work of a predator. [​IMG]
  7. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh thank you for posting this!!

    We'll be in the same boat when we get ours in the spring... well almost, we've got three dogs, not two.
    ... more on them on My Page (don't want to hijack your thread)

    If I may ask? What size bin are you using for your chickies?
    We will be limited to four, so how well yours does would be invaluable info!!

    Please keep updating so I can take notes and best of luck! [​IMG]

    ...I don't know if I'ma be able to wait until spring... *sigh* too many cute little fuzzy pics.
  8. bantybev

    bantybev Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 11, 2009
    SW Michigan
    Quote:What a sweet, motherly, wonderful dog! That is the sweetest story I have heard in a while. Stealing the neighbor's dog's puppies is so cute and funny [​IMG].
  9. bantybev

    bantybev Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 11, 2009
    SW Michigan
    Yorick.....Good luck with the dogs and chicks. Let us know how it turns out. I have a big boxer mutt, Buddy, and he just ignores the chickens, but maybe that's because I have 3 birds inside and he considers them to just be another addition to the household. Just take it slow and keep an eye on them all, when together.
  10. MissJenny

    MissJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Things can happen really fast. I would suggest you start by allowing the dogs near the brooder/dog crate with those nice sturdy wires between the chicks and the dogs. I'd also start one dog at a time -- it takes very little for one excited dog to get a disinterested one all excited.

    Be especially careful when putting the chicks on the floor. One dog at a time and hold onto it's collar. There's something about a leash that makes an otherwise docile dog a little jumpy. I think they feel vulnerable.

    It's a very good idea to get them used to one another early on. Good luck -- surely it will go just fine.


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