My dog killed all my young chickens. :(

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by margali, May 25, 2012.

  1. margali

    margali In the Brooder

    Nov 13, 2011
    I had just put the young chickens out in the new main coop with my rooster and hen last weekend. They apparently got out and were free ranging. Umbra was loose in the backyard. She's been off leash before with the young ones loose and minor supervision without problems.

    When we got home from services we found all 5 babies dead. She actually ate a chunk out of one. The rooster and the big hen were hiding in the coop unharmed. Alijah beat her upside the head with one of the dead chickens and we put her in her crate.

    Will she always be a chicken killer now?
    Does that fact that we had to give her heartworm treatment Tuesday have anything to do with the sudden killing things? She killed a squirrel a Wednesday.
    The rooster didn't protect the young hens because they had just been introduced into his flock? The rooster has beaten Umbra up a couple of times so she stays away from him and the big hen.

    I am mostly upset at myself for not securing the run and the young chickens good enough. I just want to figure out if there is someway to keep this from happening again. I want chickens and love my stupid, dumb dog. Any ideas?
  2. DeannaOR

    DeannaOR Songster

    Apr 19, 2012
    Colton, Oregon
    This probably isn't going to make me popular..but it will be honest.

    Your dog is not stupid, your dog is not viscous..she is a dog with prey drive like nearly all dogs. The only one who should have been beaten upside the head with the chicken was the person who allowed the situation to happen. Beating a dog with a chicken or attaching the chicken to the dogs collar and making them wear it for a week (as I have heard a zillion times) will not teach your dog anything. It is possible to train your dog to leave the livestock alone...but it takes commitment and being fair. Even then...leaving your dog alone with livestock is setting them up for failure.
    The best way to make sure it never happens again, is to make sure your dog is secured when you can't supervise her. It is fair for her, and fair to the livestock.
    I'm sorry you lost the babies.
    6 people like this.
  3. Sweetlilbaby

    Sweetlilbaby Songster

    Apr 19, 2012
    Tacoma Washington
    Hitting a dog with anything will do nothing but teach the dog to fear you. Using a crate as a "time out" doesn't work with dogs. All that means is oh no owners mad I'm being locked in a cage again and don't know why. Sorry but dogs do not think like us. They don't sit and think about what they did.
    Your dog shouldn't be outside when you aren't home. When you were gone it should have been in the crate instead of trying to treat the dog as a child by putting it in time out.

    Sorry it happened to you. Next time crate the dog when you aren't home, do not leave the dog outside alone, and remember your dog isn't a child. A dog is a carnivore. They have a prey drive. They will go after animals that run from them.
    2 people like this.
  4. myreddogfarms

    myreddogfarms Hatching

    May 25, 2012
    Hi I had the same situation with my wonderful friend and dog Trixie. She was introduced to chicken as a puppy so I was hoping that she would except them as normal fellow animals on a farm. She is a boxer mix so she very playful. She will play with them until they stop moving. Well she figures why not eat it. Trixie ate better then I did. I was going to use the usual shock collar as I read of success stories. I love my dog very much and after shocking myself with it and being bent over in pain that idea went back to the store. Well I decided to be creative. I put Trixie in a caged area with a chicken next to a open window of our house. I took my boys toy BB gun that is not able to break the skin of a babies butt and pelted her in her butt every time she approached the hen or attempted to play. First she can't see me or the toy gun so the shock was only associated to the hen. After five quick looks of "What the!" from this she jumped the fence. Well long story short, no more dead chickens! You might have to apply a few refresher lessons but now she plays but leaves them alone. Good luck with you challenge,
  5. DeannaOR

    DeannaOR Songster

    Apr 19, 2012
    Colton, Oregon
    Premier Spray Commander Remote Trainer (citronella collar) would accomplish this without the risk of taking an eye out.
  6. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    Deanna, I actually named that "The Schwartz Effect" (You Christmas Story fans know what I mean!)

    OP, Dogs live in the now. They don't remember that an hour ago they killed the chickens. They just think that mom/dad went crazy and I'd better be afraid. That is why dogs "look guilty" when they do something wrong. They remember that the last time there was garbage on the floor, you got mad. They don't equate that with the fact that they knocked over the garbage can!

    Here is my typical advice for mixing chickens and dogs. I will also add that people think it's cute when the dog herds the chickens or plays with the babies. In most cases, however, it's better to just teach the dog to ignore the birds.

    training.   training.  more training.    Just like cleaning the coop and scooping poop and all the other jobs that come with having a pet.   The only thing more necessary to a dog than training is food!
    You already know that he is excited with the chicks.   Find the closest distance that the dog first notices the birds in the brooder.  This might be in another room if he is one to constantly glance at the door.    Put your dog on leash and get some extra special treats that he only gets for this work - bacon, grilled chicken (no spices!), hot dog chunks, etc.     When the dog glances toward the birds, say his name and "leave it"    If he looks at you, give him a treat - if he doesn't, give a light pop on the leash (think tap on the shoulder).  When he looks at you reward him.  
    You can also teach him "watch me" the same way.   You can practice this at random times though out the day.   If you have a couple extra minutes while you're watching TV or whatever, just say his name, pause, "watch me"   When he makes eye contact, then reward him.    You can also (if you get in the habit of keeping a small treat in your pockets) catch him looking towards you say "watch me" and then reward.  Or just praise him verbally.
    Once the dog is reliably paying attention to you and the birds at a distance, move a little bit closer.   If he absolutely blows you off, you're too close.  Just back up a bit and begin again.   Eventually you will be right amongst the birds.    You can then start at a distance or with a long line (20' leash or so) and work from there.    I never ever leave my dogs/chickens loose unattended together.  
    I don't even trust Rayden
    I don't mean I constantly hover over the dogs when they are out with the birds, but I am in the area and aware of what they are doing.   Think of it as a small child.  Even though you've taught them not to play with matches, would you leave them alone in the house with matches scattered all over the floor?
    The most important part of the training is to set the dog up to succeed.   Don't give him a chance to chase the birds.  Don't give him a chance to disobey.  
    ETA:  The best thing about teaching "leave it" is that it works for everything.   Drop something on the floor and don't want the dogs to touch it?  "leave it"    See dog running toward a snake?  "leave it"     Lots of training and work, but it pays off!
    Of course, some dogs just can't be trusted off-leash.  Period.   They are just too focused on the birds.  In that case, just confine the dog when the birds are out.   
  7. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011

    it sounds like you had the collar turned WAAAAAY too high. I use a remote collar for proofing certain behaviors with my youngest GSD. I use it on a 2 and his only response is an ear twitch. I've used it myself and it's no more painful than a good zap of static electricity.
    Shooting a dog with a BB gun is a good way to end up with a severely injured dog, including loosing an eye
  8. FuryanGoddess

    FuryanGoddess Chirping

    Apr 10, 2012
    I have a GSD. She's has a wicked, intense small prey drive but leaves my guinea pigs alone. I thinks she thinks that they're puppies and she knows they're part of the family. We still keep them securely away from her.. not going to take the chance. The chickens...well, she all but drools when she sees them. She chases robins all the time and when we go near the coop, she goes nuts. They're fenced in and she can't get them, unless a chick stuck it's head through the chain link, but they're afraid of her. She runs around the run in circles and is so intense and focused. She's herding them... she WANTS to eat them. She doesn't want to keep them safe, she wants to let her prey drive out and kill them.. My chicks are secure. IF I give her the command to leave it, she will listen, but her size, one nip, it would be the end to most small animals. She's an awesome dog, but she is NEVER and WILL NEVER be trusted around them.

    You can train, but in the end... she's a dog. She has prey drive and instinct can only be overridden to an extent. Dogs are not robots. They have brains and think for themselves but they come from wild animals and in the end, survival is bred into them. The will, need and urge to hunt and kill can kick in, even for a moment and that's all it takes.

    Ppl said to never leave a dog alone w/ a child... I think that goes w/ any other type of animal. My dog is all about protecting my kids. She's fight to the death for them.... chickens and other animals... no. Never trust her. Shes a dog and they just don't think like us. She has no love for chickens. She has prey drive. She wants to nomnom them.

    Tastes like chicken.

    And agreed. Hitting her upside the head w/ a dead chick.. not gonna help. Time out.. nope. They don't remember what they did wrong. you MUST catch them in the act to react and teach!
  9. AMA Chick

    AMA Chick Chirping

    Apr 10, 2012
    Glasgow KY
    I am mostly upset at myself for not securing the run and the young chickens good enough. I just want to figure out if there is someway to keep this from happening again. I want chickens and love my stupid, dumb dog. Any ideas?

    The dog was just being a dog.

    I think the solution for your problem (keeping it from happening again) is very simple: NEVER let the dog outside unattended. PERIOD. Until your chickens run is completely secured, the dog should not be out unsupervised.

    You should also apologize to the dog for hitting it upside the head with a dead chicken.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Hangtown Farms

    Hangtown Farms Crowing

    May 19, 2012

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