Living with the predator.......


In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 20, 2010
Stuk between Canada and Mexico
Should I be concerned? :
Those of you that have both Dogs and Chickens, Do you tend to lean toward total separation, supervised visits or un-supervised visits between the two? And if your lucky enough to have your chickens and dogs get along, how did you do it? I'm looking for some pointers here (no not the kind in the picture!). I have a shipment of chicks coming in a few days and I really want all to get along as I don't have much room to keep em' separated. I mean I will have the chickens in a secure coop once they are feathered. I'm just don't want my dogs to be licking their chops all day long outside the coop and the run.

Although I am sure you love your dogs... I would be very uneasy if those two guys came near my flock.
I am going to suggest separation.
The only thing my dog thinks when she sees the girls is "winner winner chicken dinner!" - when she and her free (my people don't care where I'm at)-roaming neighborhood buddies are in my yard - they are circling my chicken run. I wish you the best of luck - but your dogs look like they are quite possibly more "winner winner chicken dinner" variety than loyal flock guardians

ETA: Here's the thing - I think most people have moderately trained dogs - mine sits - comes when called (unless there is something more interesting to do) and more often than not is well behaved. But she IS a DOG. She is also a hunting breed dog (one of which you have there) - her "job" genetically is to find and get birds - not save them. That's a lot of instinct to overcome. I don't know anything about Pits but genetically speaking I'm guessing you'd be asking a lot of her as well. Speaking as a person who has had her dog kill one of her birds - that's a lot to overcome in dog owner relationship so to speak (and I even know it wasn't the dogs fault) but when your favorite dog - kills one of your favorite birds you feel a small amount of conflict. Say you don't really "love" your birds - like you "love" your dog - entirely possible - still a pretty tough thing to pick up a dead or injured bird out of your yard even if you're going to immediately forgive the trespasser right?

Those don't look like just "dogs" - those look like they are quite possibly loyal friends and companions if not "children" - you will be sad if they take out your chicken flock - some things are not meant to live together companionably - I am of the opinion that dogs and chickens are not meant to be friends under most circumstances. (I do have a cat that sleeps in the coop and allows chickens to walk on him though
- and I am pretty sure that there was a thread here the other day that cats and chickens aren't meant to be friends either
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Seperation is best. Mostly it depends on the prey drive and training level of your dogs. Highly trained dogs and/or dogs with low prey drive can do well with chickens, but don't go into this thinking everybody will co exist peacefully together. My chickens freerange and my dogs are out with them. The dogs ignore the chickens and chase the coyotes so it works well for me, but it's not for everyone. There are many, many sad threads on here where the family dog got loose and wiped out the entire flock.
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I brooded mine in the basement and I would pick up a chick and let them smell it with it in my hand. They came downstairs with me often. Then I covered the brooder box with chicken wire across the top and the dogs would look at them and sniff a little. After a few weeks they didn't bother with them anymore. Now they are grown hens and the dogs never paid attention to them in the coop. Once I started to free range them, the dogs could care less what the chickens are doing. BTW they are labradoodles.
From the very first day the babies got home I would make it clear to my dogs "THESE ARE MINE." Any time they looked in that direction I would growl, make it clear they have no business paying any attention to those chickies. I would not give the chicks any attention with the dogs present either. As far as the dogs should be concerned the box is just another piece of furniture, nothing to get excited about...BORING . I have two Yorkies that sniffed the box, then when I took one of the day old chicks out (the chick) tried to peck his hair and he ran. Very brave dogs.
Boy, I don't know . . . . I think I have to agree with the dinner dinner label. They are beautiful dogs, by the way, but I just don't know if they could be made completely trustworthy. . .I have the same issue as you do, and I know I won't even try. Everyone will be separate.
It really depends on how much you have trained them, I believe. A lot of people see Pit and are fearful, but those dogs can be wonderful family pets, if they are raised that way. I think the only one who can really answer that question is yourself.
Thanks for all the advice.

If the dogs seemed too focused on the chickens I'll probably try some supervised visits, while letting the dogs know that the chickens are mine. They usually get the point when I claim my territory. I just hope that during the day when i'm at work the dogs aren't stalking the chickens from the other side of the fence. I know a happy chicken will put out more eggs than a nervous scared one. Thats really the goal is for the chickens not to feel ike there always an inch away from doggy dinner, i'm guessing they would be nervous wrecks and not very happy.

Who knows, maybe it won't be a problem at all. I'm really curious to see how these guys act around the flock.

Here's my coop, the thing is a tank and weighs a ton so i'm sure the chickens will be secure..

do ya think?
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After working with them a LOT, you'll have to be the judge of what level of trust they have earned. You'll have to work with them from day one, exposing them frequently (and safely) to the chicks (even if it's through a baby gate at first). In a few weeks, when the chicks move outdoors, you'll continue daily, sitting with a firm hold on your dog (work with one dog at a time) inside the run....then with a leash inside the run. At least that's how I did it. But my dogs are real people pleasers. And six months later, my female is still not 100% reliable unsupervised, because she's just too playful and stubborn at this time. As others have said, a LOT depends on the prey drive of your dogs, a LOT depends on the training you put into it, and your dogs ages and personality will factor in as well. Good luck!

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