My dog is a chicken eater, don't know what to do

PioneerChicks

Naturalist
Sep 4, 2019
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Idaho
My Coop
My Coop
I have an Aussiedoodle dog, just barely a year old, and we didn't socialize her very much with chickens when she was younger, and now we're worried it's too late. Her name is Rosie. She is a little over 40 pounds.

She tries to "play" with our cat, but he can take care of himself. She had one close call with my OEGB hen but I stopped her.

Late August she caught and killed one of my Australorps while we were gone. We tried to tie the hen to her neck, but she got it off and ate more of her. It was a mess.

I have had all my chickens confined in their coops since then, except sometimes in the evenings when I watch over them while they play in the chicken yard (which is fenced off from the rest of the yard, and we do our best to keep Rosie out of).

Today I had one rooster isolated from the others in a small pen. But in the matter of a few hours Rosie broke into the chicken yard and broke his pen open. This time she ate him pretty fast and all I found was feathers.

Both of these losses weren't chickens I loved, and they don't matter to my breeding programs, but that's not the point.

Rosie doesn't know that killing chickens is wrong. But if it came down to it, I would choose my chickens over her. But my whole family loves her (including myself) and we've had her since she was a puppy. And we bought her for over $1000 to breed her, and have spent a couple hundred on her since.

Please help, we don't know what to do. I've heard mixed results about shock colors.

Thanks in advace!
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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just barely a year old, and we didn't socialize her very much with chickens when she was younger, and now we're worried it's too late.
It is not too late to train the dog.

I do not know whether you will ever be able to trust the dog completely loose around chickens, but you can definitely make things better than they are now.

Just training the dog to obey you can help quite a lot. For example, if you tell her to sit and she sits, she cannot be chasing chickens while sitting!

Late August she caught and killed one of my Australorps while we were gone. We tried to tie the hen to her neck, but she got it off and ate more of her. It was a mess.
I have seen almost exactly this story a few times before-- tieing the dead chicken to the dog does not teach the dog to leave chickens alone, but it does let the dog eat more of this chicken.

I have had all my chickens confined in their coops since then, except sometimes in the evenings when I watch over them while they play in the chicken yard (which is fenced off from the rest of the yard, and we do our best to keep Rosie out of).

If you do your best to keep Rosie out of the chicken yard, does it work?
If not, I suggest that you improve the fence of the chicken yard.

Also, consider putting a leash on the dog and tieing the leash to a sturdy belt around your waist. (Or run the belt through the handle loop of the leash, before you put the belt on.)
That lets the dog spend time outdoors with you, prevents her from running and chasing chickens, and lets you grab either the dog or the leash at any time if she misbehaves.

Today I had one rooster isolated from the others in a small pen. But in the matter of a few hours Rosie broke into the chicken yard and broke his pen open. This time she ate him pretty fast and all I found was feathers.
I think you really need to improve the chicken yard and maybe the pen inside it as well. If your own dog can get in, so can a stray dog, or a coyote, or probably a fox or raccoon.


Rosie doesn't know that killing chickens is wrong.
So start by keep her on a leash, or with a secure fence between her and the chickens, or inside the house, or any other arrangements that make it completely impossible for her to get to the chickens. That will keep her from doing it again while you work on training.

Also, make her practice obedience (heel, sit, come, and so forth) on a leash, in a place where she can see and smell chickens but not reach them (like outside the chicken yard, AND on a leash.) This makes her obey YOU, even when the exciting chickens are right there. It does not directly teach her that chicken-killing is wrong, but it does start to teach her that she CAN control herself even when sort-of near the chickens.

If she gets really good at obeying on leash, outside the fence, you could start to work her off-leash outside the fence, and on-leash inside the chicken yard.

I'm guessing you can train her to leave the chickens alone while you are present and paying attention, but it might take months or even a year or more of steady work to reach that point. Whether you can ever trust her unsupervised, I have no idea, but certainly not in the next few months.

Please help, we don't know what to do. I've heard mixed results about shock colors.
I have also heard mixed results, and so I would probably try basic training methods first (leash and normal collar.)

I might consider an invisible fence (shock collar that activates when the dog goes near a certain boundary), and put that right along the chicken yard fence. The shock might be enough to keep her from destroying the physical fence, and the physical fence will keep her from running right through the area that shocks her (my former neighbor had a dog that ran right through his invisible fence all the time-- he had learned that once he went far enough, the shock stopped.)
 

Geena

Free Ranging
7 Years
Aug 17, 2014
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I've known a few farmers that have shot their own dogs, usually a young dog from a litter of an established farm dog, because they killed livestock. I know they found it a very hard thing to do.
In many countries if a dog strays on to your proeprty and chases livestock or kills livestock the law states you may shoot that dog.
I know from some similar dog kills chicken threads here on BYC that in some states you can shoot/kill a dog that pesters your live stock. There is even a abreviation of SSS (shoot shovel and shut up) I think that is recommended by others on this forum. Many of these people have dogs.
The main difference here is that the owner of the dog is also the owner of the chickens; this doesn't make the principle wrong, or the law a fool.
I know you're a dog lover and I can understand why you might find my view unacceptable but it is not just my view, it is the view a many farmers and smallholders that have to deal with untrained/unsuitable dogs killing their livestock.
I don't have a problem with people shooting a dog that is killing their livestock. Multiple times over the years we've had dogs get in and harass our horses and steers, so I know exactly how that is. I've always been able to locate the owners and firmly let them know that if the dog(s) come back they will be shot. I guess we've just been lucky, because they were never to be seen again.

To me, your own dog going after livestock is a different kettle of fish, because just as you have a responsibility to take care of and protect your livestock, you also have a responsibility to take care of and train your dog. If a person doesn't have the ability to take care of an animal, any animal, properly then they should not have them.

My point was one shouldn't expect to keep a dog, a predatory animal, and chickens, prey animals, together unless they have a plan to either train or contain them. IMO if your dog kills your chicken then that's on you because somehow you've mismanaged your situation.

For those that don't have the time or ability to train a dog, or just don't feel like dealing with it, a simple sturdy and/or electric fence will quickly and easily solve the problem. As would only having either chickens or dogs, IMO when you choose to have both, you are also choosing to take on that extra responsibility.
 

RosemaryDuck

Crowing
Dec 15, 2020
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I have an Aussiedoodle dog, just barely a year old, and we didn't socialize her very much with chickens when she was younger, and now we're worried it's too late. Her name is Rosie. She is a little over 40 pounds.

She tries to "play" with our cat, but he can take care of himself. She had one close call with my OEGB hen but I stopped her.

Late August she caught and killed one of my Australorps while we were gone. We tried to tie the hen to her neck, but she got it off and ate more of her. It was a mess.

I have had all my chickens confined in their coops since then, except sometimes in the evenings when I watch over them while they play in the chicken yard (which is fenced off from the rest of the yard, and we do our best to keep Rosie out of).

Today I had one rooster isolated from the others in a small pen. But in the matter of a few hours Rosie broke into the chicken yard and broke his pen open. This time she ate him pretty fast and all I found was feathers.

Both of these losses weren't chickens I loved, and they don't matter to my breeding programs, but that's not the point.

Rosie doesn't know that killing chickens is wrong. But if it came down to it, I would choose my chickens over her. But my whole family loves her (including myself) and we've had her since she was a puppy. And we bought her for over $1000 to breed her, and have spent a couple hundred on her since.

Please help, we don't know what to do. I've heard mixed results about shock colors.

Thanks in advace!
I'd like to give you a couple bits of advice here.

1: Tying a dead bird or animal to a dogs neck has never done anything to discourage them. It's an old wives tale/myth from old farmers and can actually make the issue worse as most dogs will just think it's a treat/tear it off and eat it. That and it's extremely unsanitary.

2: You can't assign human emotions to a dog. I know it's easy to do it because you love them (I love my dogs very much too!). Dogs don't have a sense of 'good' or 'bad'. She killed the chicken because it was something to kill and it was prey. There was no thought behind it.

I hope this helps. Best of luck to you and your pup!
 

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