Managing a well rounded and safe environment- Advice needed

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by FaerieChicken, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. FaerieChicken

    FaerieChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So we have 3 dogs.

    Peaches (min schnauzer mix about 15 lbs) she started off seeming like she would be a good "motherly" or "rooster" type , she is 4 years old when first introduced to our new hens. We had aquired some chicks as well, which are now about 11 weeks. She seemed to be doing great with them, and the larger hens. However, on Saturday, she decided to corner and assult my Rhode Island Red that just layed an egg for the first time after the hens not laying for about 2 weeks now. She is fine, maybe a little stressed and my not want to lay today, but I have them kept in the coop and run for the day.

    Ariel (70 lb female GSD and possible Rott mix maybe golden ret 2 years old) She is really into the chickens. She stalks them, stares them down, heards them, and has been know to pull tail feathers. I have introduced her to the baby chicks when we first got them, we had them in the kiddie pool inside the house at first and she comes in at night. At first I could hear all 3 dogs with the chicks, but after some training with them, no problems, no chicks lost in the middle of the night! I thought this is good. Well now that the chicks are outside with the Hens, they are roaming the yard and she still wants to heard them but not really chase them or snip at them. About a week ago or so, just before halloween, she was caught hearding the chicks, and we were missing one, thought it went out through the picket fence in the front and a neighbor cat got it. Then on Halloween night, left noting the chicks were happy and together in the oleander bushes, got home 2 hours later, missing another chick, all the chicks were huddled together by the back door of the house. No signs of either chicks anywhere, no feathers, no beaks no nothing! So we think that is what happened.

    Nero (75lb male GSD and Rott mix poss golden ret 2 years old, brother of Ariel above ) Will heard but pretty much mellow around them, will be alert when they are around him, doesn't chase them or stare them down like his sister. mostly cool calm and collective. Spiked interest when they hens and/or chicks are playing or making extra noises. not too worried of him.

    Any suggestions or advice? I have tried holding chicks to the dogs when in submissive states. Perhaps more work is needed! I am a firm believer in everyday is a training day. So I am constantly on them with thier bad behaviours but when I am not home 4 days a week, it is left up to others to be on the same page
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Boy, that's a tuffy....training is they key, as you know, and hopefully everyone in the family gives the exact same training messages because inconsistency is death to good training.

    ...and, as you probably also know, it takes time.

    I wouldn't trust the dogs unsupervised with the birds for a good long while....keep the birds, or the dogs, contained until you are very, very sure that the dogs know that the birds are off limits for any un-approved behavior.
    Maybe I missed how long you've had the birds.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. FaerieChicken

    FaerieChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We just aquired the Hens, in September, and the baby chicks we have got them about 4 to 6 weeks ago. I am working with the fam, but I don't want the chickens to not free range, and I don't want the dogs to end up in the smaller part of the yard. See if I allow the hens to stay in the front of the house, they tear up what little lawn I have, as it is there is a corner that thrashed and I am trying to get it to come back. If the dogs stay in the front most of the time, there isn't enough room for them to roam. I am going to set up my dog kennel panels and block off a part of the backyard that the chickens can stay in, that is off the back of the run where there is a "dog door" that the chickens go in/out of all day! This way they have more room to roam, and so do the dogs.

    Just keep working with them is probably my best bet. I have to get the kiddos in tune too, but my 2 year old likes to try and catch the babies.
     
  4. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the chicks or pullets, since they are 12 weeks old, are missing, it likely is not the dogs. Dogs usually kill chickens for sport and leave the bodies.

    My dogs killed some chicks, but it was because they stepped on them trying to play with them. I keep chicks separated until they are large enough to be out loose, about 12 weeks old. That way they are large enough not to step on.

    My Aussie has given up trying to herd chickens, just poor cooperation on the part of the chickens. He just watches them. On occasion, he will push the rooster off of the hens. Apparently, he thinks the rooster is being too rough or something.

    Chris
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    If your dogs causing mischief like mine during their break in phase then it very possible the culprit is eating the evidence. Most dogs do not eat such kills but many, including mine, certainly do and the killing is not always out of sport. Sometimes it is hunger or simply boredom. To determine if dogs are doing it, then do a poopy check. If dogs doing the deed, you will find feathers in the feces but you may need to break feces up with stick to find them.

    If dogs are not the culprit which in your situation I see as unlikely they are not, then you have real problems because the dogs are dead heads and not providing any protection.

    Hopefully the dogs are the problem and you can train them out of it. Do not hold or do anything involving confining the birds in front of dogs, at least not until they are past the stare down stage. The dogs may also be continuously trained as birds mature because some dogs think different rules apply for different life-stages of your fowl. To me that is a sign the dog is smart enough to test limits.
     
  6. FaerieChicken

    FaerieChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, Update!
    I have been keeping the chicks in the coup/run. I have allowed them, if they choose to go, into the backyard out the "chicken door" at the end of the run. Some know how to get in and out so they do, the others are happy to just kick it in the coup/run all day. The dogs are still "hearding" them around when I am not watching them closely. I stay ontop of it when I am home, and trying to get others on board as well, its coming together nicely.

    I never had the chance to check the poo! But thought about doing it. Thier poo seems to dry out pretty fast and turns white and falls apart, so if I don't get it scooped with in a few days, then there really isn't anything much to go through.

    Thank you all for your advice and tips.
     

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