My puppies attacked my chickens this morning

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kara_leigh, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. kara_leigh

    kara_leigh Songster

    May 3, 2011
    Bradleyville, MO
    This morning around 9am I was laying in bed (I have insomnia and didn't fall asleep until 5am) when I heard my chickens making weird noises right outside our window. I got up and looked out the window to see one of my puppies (5 months) pinning one of my chickens to the ground with her paws, and had her mouth around the chicken's neck and was shaking it. I immediately ran outside and got the dogs away and checked on the chickens. Thankfully, the chicken was fine. Four of my 6 big chickens were hiding under the mini coop, scared to death. I had no idea where the other two were. The rest of my chickens were still in my husband's shop. My husband got the dogs inside, and I checked on all four that were under the coop. They were so scared. The one that the dog had, his poor heart was beating so fast. I could tell they were kind of in shock b/c they were letting me hold them and pet them and weren't running away, where normally they don't like me to touch them at all. The other two chickens were fine and were hiding on the other side of the house. I coaxed them all out and together with their favorite treat of some yogurt. They were still really nervous and scared, but all were fine. Thankfully.

    The dogs were kept inside all day today. I just don't understand or know what to do at this point. We've had the dogs and chickens for 3 months. The chickens free range and I refuse to pen them up. That isn't an option. Up until now the dogs have pretty much ignored the chickens, I don't know what happened today. My husband and I are home all day, every day, and if we aren't home the dogs are put inside in a crate. Otherwise they are outside and I keep an eye on them. Someone told me that I just need to keep the dogs inside, but we might as well just not have them then b/c they were purchased with the sole intent to protect my chickens. I just don't know what to do. I'm just glad that they didn't draw any blood.

    Is there still hope for my dogs? What would you do if you were in this situation?

  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    What I would do, and what I do, is keep them separate. It's very, very hard to expect a puppy to ignore the chickens. The pup doesn't know of your plans for him to guard the hens, he just see's something that runs and squawks and is fun to catch. The chickens need a place where they can be safe from the dogs and/or the dogs need a pen where they cannot get at the chickens. Then you can start trying to train the dog to leave the chickens alone. You may be successful or you may always have a dog that will take a chicken when your not around. It depends on three things: dogs temperment/prey drive, what breed or mix it is, and training.

    Since he is young training may work although it's not great that he's already experienced running down and catching a chicken. But he's young so you have that in your favor.

    Good luck, I hope you can make things work out the way you want them too. Myself, I just don't trust dogs around my chickens, ever, especially unsupervised. Over the years I've had a couple dogs who were good with the birds, the rest were not to be trusted.
  3. Bev in Nevada

    Bev in Nevada In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2011
    was it the Aussies in your sig line? if so, many now a days are NOT bred to be natural "herders" they have to be taught how. They get out there and just do what they think they should do and it ends up chasing, then drive kicks in and you get plucking and total mayhem......*IF* you do not want to TRAIN your Aussies to "herd" then the best bet is to FENCE off an area for your chickens where your dogs cannot get them.
    I have four Border Collies (trained on sheep, not chickens) and four malinois (not trained on chickens either) both herding three acres is fenced in with 6ft chain link, within that area is a one acre fenced in area with chain link. The dogs, though trained to herd on other animals are NOT allowed near the my case/it is just safer for my chickens...........just my humble opinion, dont allow your dogs around the chickens.
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Have you done any training of these pups in regards to the chickens? If you have not, you can try it and there are several methods out there to try. I had two mixed pups that were pretty hard headed about any and all training, so when they went after the chickens my usual training methods meant nothing. I don't suffer fools gladly, so both pups were shot and disposed of. If I can't have free range chickens living in symbiosis with free ranged -on my property-dogs, then I won't have the dogs at all.

    My sis has one of the siblings of these pups and she has spent countless hours on just obedience training and nothing is working. Some dogs just can't be taught to do some things.
  5. gale65

    gale65 Songster

    The dogs on your blog don't look anything like australian shepherds I've seen (our last two dogs were aust. shepherds and my fil has always had these kinds of dogs).

    We have a lab/aust shepherd and she is the sweetest dog but she loves to play rough and I know our chicks wouldn't survive an encounter with her. I wouldn't trust her even if I was out watching her but even if we thought she was well trained, I still wouldn't 100% trust a dog with chickens. So our chickens stay in a run.

  6. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    One of the problems with "free range" without shelter from predators is that sometimes the chicken becomes dinner or a toy for another animal. You may be able to train your dogs to guard the chickens; but you need to get serious when one chases a chicken. It's a bad sign when the dog gets to the chicken unsupervised and tries to dispatch it. You need to separate the chickens and the dogs and not allow the dogs anywhere near the chickens unless you are right with them - and you have to be ready to discipline and show every sign of displeasure your dogs understand if they even begin to chase a chicken.
  7. nzpouter

    nzpouter Songster

    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    Quote:What exactly did you do to the dog immediately after you caught it in action....? The blood doesn't make the dog a killer, the chase and play does.....
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  8. BigIslandBirdman

    BigIslandBirdman In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2011
    Kurtistown, HI

    I have found that even after you think they may be trained ONE DAY when they are bored there can be a massacre!

    There are a few options though
    1. Get prey resistant chicken breeds. Usually smaller chickens that are good flyers are the best. They can fly to a tree for safety! Downside is they lay smaller eggs and not as frequent as some of the larger more commercial breeds. Americanas are actally a fair prey resistant breed and still lay med to large eggs- they are green/ blue though.
    2. Train one dog at a time.

    Best way to train is to take dog on leash when you feed or collect eggs walk him around the chickens. As soon as his focus goes to a chicken give him a light kick in the ribs to change his focus. When he ignores the chicken treat him and reward him.
    3. Multiple dogs form a pack and will hunt- multiple dogs will make your job harder
    4. Get a large Rooster- you would be surprised how much a rooster actually potects his girls- my dog has been attacked several times and now he won't go near the chickens.
    Hope this helps-
  9. cpwhip

    cpwhip Chirping

    Jun 22, 2011
    I have 4 dogs 2 are 125+lbs Rottweilers, I keep the dogs in their own large fenced area and the chickens are
    in theirs on the opposite side of the property my dogs don't have a clue the chickens are there if they did I know
    my chickens would end up on the menu their prey drive is too strong to take any chances, its just nature and I dont think
    there's much you can do about it other than find away to keep them separate, if they did it once the'll do it again.
    trying to expect my dogs to guard the chickens would be like letting my Husband guard the Christmas cheese ball he just can't be trusted.

  10. dutchhollow

    dutchhollow Songster

    May 13, 2008
    SW IA
    Quote:Wow, are these the pups? From november?
    "The thing is....I already picked the pups, sort of in a hurry and on the run, which is never good. I think the first one was a real gem. He is calm but playful, smart as a tack to not repeat the same mistake twice and seems of normal inquisitiveness....bold but not too, if you know what I mean. Responds well to correction.

    The second gal I chose for my sister, as she has been needing a pup too. I chose that one in a hurry on another day....just grabbed the biggest, prettiest female...but had a moment's concern that her tail was down. Almost between her legs down. After having her a few days I have learned that she definitely wouldn't fit in here but may just be great for my sister, who has no other dogs. I generally like dogs that respond to easy training and are able to read my cues well.

    This little girl is a hard head but real smart. But not smart enough to stop getting in trouble for the same thing over and over. Very much into manipulative behaviour and getting her own way~if she does not, she will stay in her little dog house all day and give you dirty looks. Only come out for meals and then goes straight back to her house. Six weeks old and makes it quite plain that she thinks she is in charge and just wants to let you know it.

    The third little girl was chosen on the fly also(seems to be a trend here, huh? What can I say? Life is busy... ). She seems very timid, but approached me well on her own turf with her tail up and wagging. Took her home and she has been very scared. I think she will be smart enough but may lack the personality that I like....a little bold but obedient, willing but quirky at times. Too soon to tell.

    I tried the puppy on the back trick last night and pup #1 and #3 passed with flying colors....pup #2 did not. What a shocker.

    I have the option of taking these pups back if I do not like them....I definitely like the first pup and feel he is a keeper. I'm still debating the third pup but will see how she acts once she has grown accustomed to my place.

    The third girl will go to my sister's house and will probably be a big, beautiful specimen of her breed...but will RULE that house! I think that will be okay with my sister, as this dog also loves to cuddle and be sweet when she is getting her own way."

    Not to steal the thread (and yes you can work with the pups to not touch chickens) but as soon as I read the reply I remembered this post, I had replied to the first question on picking a pup. Then after reading the thread, thought to myself, this is going to end badly.l I hate when I am right.

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