my dog killed chicken, help


10 Years
Jun 14, 2009
I had two chickens who were about 3 months old. One of them was relatively small even for her young age. They usually stay in a large coop but they like to wander around sometimes. They were wandering around only for a few minutes when i walked like 5 feet away to get new water for them and i turn back around and my dog had the smallest chicken in its mouth. It was dead of course.

I have 2 dogs, a corgi/border collie mix and a rhodesian ridgeback mix. The corgi has always been good around the animals but the ridgeback is pretty hyper and she's also really big. She's been around small animals since we've had her, but has never killed one until now. She's not very smart and doesnt even seem to realize what she did. Since I didn't see it I don't know if she was just trying to play with the chicken or was actually trying to kill it.

The big problem is with the dog. I figure I have to get rid of her now, considering I have 2 adult rhode island reds, 1 other 3month old, and 3 chicks in a brooder right now. Not only that but we also have an adult goose and 3 goslings who are outside. Is getting rid of the dog the best option or is it possible to train her to behave around small animals? Or is it better to just keep her away from the other animals? This dog has a lot of behavior issues and would be very hard to get a home for. Any advice would be appreciated.
With this specific incident, I think it's probably too late to do anything training-wise at this point. She'd never associate the training with the death of the pullet.

Dogs are very trainable around all sorts of animals, but of course it would depend on how much work you are willing to put into the endeavor.

Sounds to me like you might need to rotate who gets to be outside and when so that they are separated. Or keep your dogs tethered out of reach of the birds. Or keep your poultry in a run where they are safe. I'm sorry this happened to you.
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My dogs are all fine with the chickens and guineas. Your dog just needs to be trained, and if you think he's not trainable, then you need to keep them separate.

Some of my dogs are city dogs. One of them killed a guinea when we first moved to the country. Like you, I don't know what the motive was, but I do know he knew he did bad. There wasn't any blood (not a bite). It looks like he was rough with the guinea. I found her near her run, and I found him about five acres away trying to avoid me. I never even disciplined him. It just never happened again. The other city dog never went after a guinea or chicken. The country dogs went after chickens as puppies but were trained out of that. I don't ever worry about them. The chickens, guineas and dogs all free range together.

Chickens should have their own coop and run anyway. Whether you let them out of that run to free range is up to you and your situation. But they should still have a fortress to protect them. Your dog is the least of your worries, it's just the most immediate problem right now.

To word it another way: no, imoho, I don't think you should get rid of the dog. IMOHO, he's your responsibility as much as the chickens are. If you know they can't mingle, either train them or separate them. It can work. Many people have dogs and chickens.
You can train your dog if you put in the effort. I have a mini dachshund and I trained her a lot to avoid the chickens. I still always keep one eye on her but my problem now is the chickens pecking her and they're not scare of her bark when she's telling them to back off. I know, my dog is small but in the beginning she kept trying to attack them but nothing now.
I had a dog with behavior problems and it took YEARS of intensive training to curb the worst of her behaviors. She could never be allowed around smaller animals, period. We trained her, worked with her and constantly had to guard her against herself. She died at 7 years old of cancer, and I felt like a huge weight was lifted. She was awful and I do not miss her at all.
You need to decide how much time, effort and energy you want to invest in this dog. If you have the slightest doubts about your ability to cope with this animal then get rid of it (ie. re-home or euthanization). I put the monumental effort into my dog, but I have to say in retrospect that I should have not bothered. I should have poured my time and money into a different dog.
I say keep the dog but be more careful.

I have a dog that I got from the pound who was abused and has issues. Her good traits far outweight the bad, but she cannot be trusted with my chickens. I keep them separated at all times.
I agree. My neighbors have 2 Ridgebacks, and the entire neighborhood would ahve been much better off if they had been put down a long time ago. They get loose and attack and wound or kill everybody elses' pets in the neighborhood. If you keep the dog, keep it separate from the birds, and remember that a determined RR can easily jump a 6 foot fence or dig under a fence. If you can't train it, contact a RR rescue group or put it down. An untrained RR (or any large breed dog) that is untrained and loose is a menace.
Thank you all for the advice! So far a friend agreed to take the dog at least until the chickens are older. The dog might actually stay with the friend or will come back and not be allowed around the chickens (or any small animal) anymore.

For clarity her behavior problems are a result of being abused by previous owners, so really it's just her peeing when she gets too excited and being very shy around strangers. Since she is a hunting dog by nature, we will probably not try rely on training and just keep her or or the chickens fenced off. Putting her down is way out of the question. As for neighbors, we live on a very large plot of land and the nearest neighbor is quite a walk, so this dog is content in her backyard and never is allowed to roam the streets.

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