Is my dog wanting to protect or murder?

RenoChickenNoob

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 12, 2014
47
3
26
Reno, NV
I have an approx 9 yr old Border Collie/Pointer/Terrier mix that is super sweet, always loving, high anxiety however. She loves to chase birds and on one occasion a couple yrs ago I took her with me to go fishing at a small lake and she managed to catch herself a coot (small black lake duck). But as soon as I heard the scuffle I yelled at her, she immediately dropped it and it flew away unharmed.

So now my wife and I are first time chicken owners with 7 baby chicks. My dog, Corky is very interested in them and sometimes shakes a bit where she's around them. She watches them intently but never tries to go after them (I think she knows I'd have her head on a plate). They are enclosed so she isn't able to get to them anyway. I've let her smell them in my hand a few times but always keeping a close guard in case of an instinctive chomp.


I really just don't know whether she is genuinely curious and wants to protect them or if she is DYING to make feathery little snacks out of them.


Any thoughts?
 

Featherwrangler

In the Brooder
7 Years
Feb 24, 2012
17
0
24
Northeastern Plains of Colorado
My Weimaraner, a bird dog, thinks they are chew toys. Everything he catches, rabbits, pocket gophers, mice. He plays with them until dead. He almost scared one of the hens to death, puncturing one of her wings. Still working on training,still a pup.
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sbhkma

Songster
6 Years
Mar 27, 2013
921
608
211
Texas-Just a little bit South of Weird
The shaking you are seeing is nervous energy. More than likely she wants to give chase and the shaking is her way of dissipating that energy. That doesn't mean she can't be trained. Just do so carefully. One of my shepherds has huge prey drive and he would shake when he first saw the chickens and would watch then TOO intently. I knew he wanted to give chase. I trained him carefully and now he's completely safe around them and in fact he is the one who beat up the coyote that tried to make dinner out of Sophie.
 

CATandTIM

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 13, 2014
27
2
24
I'm going to say she will probably make them into a nice feathery snack. If she's caught a bird before, she'll do it again. I would not let her be near the chickens at all, even supervised. I can't trust my own dogs around birds or small animals. They will run them down, they've gotten a bunny, robin, and climbed a tree after a squirrel.

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mereinolan

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 4, 2014
41
0
34
South Georgia
We have the same problem with our dog. She is really protective over us and the kids. She has actually killed 3 of our chickens over the last year. One was a few days old, then she didn't mess with them at all until they were out and the kids were playing around with them, following and such. Now, we keep her penned up while we let the chickens out and then switch once they are back up.

We are not sure if she was being protective and thought the chickens were hurting the kids or jealous and wanting to play with them herself....
 

RenoChickenNoob

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 12, 2014
47
3
26
Reno, NV
The shaking you are seeing is nervous energy. More than likely she wants to give chase and the shaking is her way of dissipating that energy. That doesn't mean she can't be trained. Just do so carefully. One of my shepherds has huge prey drive and he would shake when he first saw the chickens and would watch then TOO intently. I knew he wanted to give chase. I trained him carefully and now he's completely safe around them and in fact he is the one who beat up the coyote that tried to make dinner out of Sophie.
She does watch them pretty intently but when I give a command or say "NO" she immediately snaps out it and licks me. Still scary. I think I'll wait until the babies are all grown up before I give them the opportunity to be near each other without protection. Even then I'll take EXTREME precaution!!
 

poodlechicks

Songster
7 Years
Apr 2, 2013
1,076
162
226
NY
She does watch them pretty intently but when I give a command or say "NO" she immediately snaps out it and licks me. Still scary. I think I'll wait until the babies are all grown up before I give them the opportunity to be near each other without protection. Even then I'll take EXTREME precaution!!
You have a border collie/ pointer/ terrier mix who is shaking when presented to your chicks. She wants to make little feathery snacks out of them, there is no doubt. She will listen to you because she knows she will be punished (even if it is just a yell) if she gets caught grabbing your birds. The minute you leave her alone, or the minute you are far enough that she thinks she can get away with murder, she will. Be them little chicks or full grown birds. It seems to me that she has too strong of a prey drive to have some restraint.
Having said that, I believe the majority of dogs can be trained to leave chickens alone provided that the owners are nearby. I don't like to judge a dog by its breed or mix of breeds because some dogs can surprise us despite their genetics. However, I would never trust your dog alone with chickens. Even if she displays her best behavior in front of you.
 

CCRabbetts

Chirping
5 Years
Feb 16, 2014
30
1
74
Ojai, California
My Coop
My Coop
You have a border collie/ pointer/ terrier mix who is shaking when presented to your chicks. She wants to make little feathery snacks out of them, there is no doubt. She will listen to you because she knows she will be punished (even if it is just a yell) if she gets caught grabbing your birds. The minute you leave her alone, or the minute you are far enough that she thinks she can get away with murder, she will. Be them little chicks or full grown birds. It seems to me that she has too strong of a prey drive to have some restraint.
Having said that, I believe the majority of dogs can be trained to leave chickens alone provided that the owners are nearby. I don't like to judge a dog by its breed or mix of breeds because some dogs can surprise us despite their genetics. However, I would never trust your dog alone with chickens. Even if she displays her best behavior in front of you.

I agree 100% my dogs with me were so sweet and left the chickens alone. But I left them alone for 20 minutes and I lost my blue cochin. I am so sad and mad at myself.
 

collieradomtman

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 5, 2014
3
1
11
I have a 95lb lab he will chase my chickens and bump their bums with his nose and as they squawk and fly off he shakes his booty in excitement. its really funny to watch but it took a lot of time me being with him and the chickens when they where chicks to be able to trust him. a lot of yelling at him and time outs on the dog run but now I can totally leave him alone with the girls and I have no worries.
 

happybooker1

Songster
9 Years
Oct 4, 2012
484
229
212
North of Houston Texas
I have a Texas Heeler -- part Australian Shephard & part Heeler. He is very obedient & even when my EE would fly over the fence into the woods he never even glanced at her.

The other day I gave the hens some leftovers in their yard which they didn't eat all of it. After twilight I went down with the dog so he could have the rest. He wouldn't even go into the chicken yard! I had to drag him in by his collar, so I guess he's got the message to leave the hens ALONE!
 

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