LGDs chasing chickens

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by trameghan, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. trameghan

    trameghan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 6, 2012
    Alabama
    I have a 2 yr old great pyr male and a female anatolian shepherd that turns 2 in june. (both fixed) For the last 4 months or so I have had an issue with my chickens randomly turning up dead(no feather missing or obviously injured, just dead) or injured to their backs. The attacks seem random. At first I thought it could be hawks, fox, or coyote since I have seen all 3 in my yard. The dogs and chickens are together in just under an acre. They have both always been around chickens and when they were younger they stayed in the front yard where they could see the chickens and i gave them supervised chicken time while i did my chores and on weekends. For the past 7 months or so they had been getting more and more unsupervised chicken time with no problems. About 2 months ago 4 chickens were dead when I got up in the morning so I separated them for a few weeks until another one turned up dead in what seemed the same manner. It couldn't be the dogs i thought so I put up cameras and let them all run the whole yard together again. The male doesn't seem to care one way or another and the female is very attentive to them. She breaks up fights and makes sure they put themselves up at night in an orderly fashion. We went a whole month with no problems when I found that 2 were tore up pretty bad to their backs, missing feathers and ripped skin but still alive. The video shows them making their rounds when the male sees something in the back corner. The female starts to, i guess you could say heard them, toward the shed. He gets done barking at whatever it was and stands near her. Then they act odd. He is jogging back and forth and she is kind of bouncing with her front paws at the group for a few minutes. A few run off and they both just run straight for the main group. She caught one and just carried it around. She would set it down then catch it again when it tried to run off all while he tried to get at it. It seemed like a game of keep away for them. Whenever it got up to run away they chased and she went back to carrying it around. This went on for 30 minutes or more with a fight between them toward the end. The chicken got away and they went after another one and did the same thing again with him even grabbing it by the wing and trying to take it from her. Once the 2nd one got away they spent the next hour looking for it then finally went back to their normal behavior. All this happened while I was at work. I can only assume they were responsible for the 4 dead ones a few months ago too. I have separated them again. I am curious about you opinions on what could have triggered this since they went over a month with no issues after the last time. I also need advice on what to do to stop this behavior.
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    What kind of training did you do with them on the chickens?
     
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    How large is your flock? I am wondering if 2 dogs are too much for 1 acre. Maybe they are bored out of their minds and resort to "playing" with the birds. Maybe if you just had one dog with them each day - rotational . Just to see if when watching them solo, they keep to business.

    Also seems like you need to have more supervised time with the dogs.
     
  4. trameghan

    trameghan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 6, 2012
    Alabama
    I had a shock collar on the great pyr. The anatolian has always had issues with collars and leashes and pretty much anything in your hand so she never got the shock collar. I would let them in the chicken yard while I did my chores and scold them "no chicken" if they chased, or tried to play with any chicken and if they ran trough the group. If he didn't listen he'd get a shock. A few times a young chicken had jumped over the fence and end up dead. I caught them chasing one in the front yard when he was about a year old and he got a real good shock for it. As for the dead chickens in the front yard they have gotten a very good yelling at and I'll hit them with the dead body a few times but I'm pretty sure that does nothing. They both know the basic sit and stay and come but he totally ignores me if there is something he can see to bark at like a car or squirrel or neighbors cat.
     
  5. trameghan

    trameghan Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
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    Oct 6, 2012
    Alabama
    I have about 20 chickens and 4 ducks. I have thought about putting just one out back at a time but I don't know how they will take being separated. Maybe it would work our great.
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    The opportunity to train these dogs properly on chickens may be lost. The type of training you describe would do very little to train them on being unsupervised with just about any livestock, let alone chickens. The dogs do not respect you and that would have to be established first, before any other training could commence.

    They've had too much time to establish bad habits towards the chickens and their training hasn't done anything for them as dogs or guardians, so it's a huge miracle that they've even been as good as they have, which is probably due more to their breed instincts and traits than anything else. I have no advice at this point other than to pen up the chickens and just use the dogs for guarding the area around the pen against any predators. Unless someone took them over who knew how to handle the breed and worked with them to overcome this previous training/behavior, I don't see them as being fit for anything else.
     

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