Kelpie dog and poultry?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by babalubird, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. babalubird

    babalubird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2008
    We are thinking we need to get our herd dog in place and trained before we get our two livestock guardian dogs.

    Does anyone own a kelpie? Their breed websites advertise them as being both a cattle, sheep and POULTRY dog.

    Does anyone here own one around your chickens? What has been your experience and do they learn to "gently" herd the poultry, or how do you handle it?


  2. RatCatRooster

    RatCatRooster Out Of The Brooder

    May 8, 2014
    A few years late with this response - but I figured that if someone else had a similar question, my experience might help.

    I have loads of roosters, as well as three drakes.

    We rescued a 1 year old Kelpie who had been given no training whatsoever, and was a flying ball of chaos when we got him.

    Within months, we had him roaming freely with the birds. We started with him on the leash around them, then off-leash with a muzzle, then off-leash with no muzzle.

    He takes his job very seriously - if the roosters start sparring, he circles them, gradually getting closer until they stop. The problem is, sometimes, if the birds don't take notice of him (if they're genuinely fighting or if one of the roosters is trying to mate another rooster or one of the drakes) he gets *very* close, and he snaps at their tails. I believe they're warning snaps, but it is still very worrying when he does it. This is very, very rare though. In general, he just does what he needs to do to stop any 'incidents' or to get our attention so that we can deal with the situation.

    He doesn't want to harm the birds or play with them or chase them - he definitely sees them as his responsibility. The only times he can be a bit much is if I'm trying to lead the birds somewhere different, or pick one up to inspect them, and he doesn't know what the plan is, and he kicks into sheep-dog auto pilot, and starts circling and flanking - thinking he's helping, but usually making the birds go in a different direction or scaring them when I'm trying to calmly pick one up. Again - not often at all - and the behaviour could probably be easily 'trained out' of him. We really haven't done a lot of training since we established the basics.

    We had loads of foxes snooping around when we first moved here - since having our Kelpie, we've seen one and it got chased away at extremely high speed (can Kelpie's run!!).

    One thing I would point out is that we had the roosters *before* we adopted the Kelpie. They were established as part of the family. When we bring in new roosters, his behaviour is different, and he sees them as a potential threat to the existing flock (which they sometimes are!). Still, I've busted him closely watching a new rooster that he didn't trust - he got kicked in the face by said rooster, and he responded by taking a few steps backward and nothing more. That bird is a trouble maker, too, so I guess he knows his business, haha.

    He's even picked up on subtle rooster behaviours that indicate a fight *might* start - like comb shaking etc. He once barked at two roosters who were gearing up to spar before they even got started! It was amazing.

    He also chases away the currawongs who fly down to eat the chicken's food! But, in all honesty, I think that's more of a personal vendetta, because the currawongs also try to steal his breakfast, haha.

    It's only one experience of course, but all in all, it's been a good one. He's currently sleeping in front of the fire, after a long day on poultry patrol :)

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