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New chickens and dogs, Help!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Lam005, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. Lam005

    Lam005 Hatching

    Nov 8, 2013
    Hi Everyone! I am new to BYC and to the whole idea of raising chickens. We just moved and now have 21 acres and would really like to have come chicks.
    Little background: We have a terrible tick problem here! This is what brought on the whole idea of having chickens (not to mention all the other +'s!) Every day we pull at least 5-10 ticks off each dog. We have heard several times that the chickens will help take care of that problem.
    For that reason, I would really like to have them free range. But I have a few concerns with that.
    One being that I don't want them down by the road. Our house sits about 500 feet from the road, but it is pretty busy anyway. Is there anyway I can teach/train the chickens to stay up by the house?
    Second, I have 2 large dogs. 1 GSD, collie mix and 1 GSD rott mix. Both well behaved but do love to chase squirrels & deer. I plan on teaching them to "love the babies" which shouldn't be a problem but how can I keep them from eating all the poop?!
    Dumb question I know, dogs love poop. But if I only have 6 chicks roaming 2-3 acres, will it be enough poop to make the dogs sick?

    We may end up having to go with a fenced in area for the chickens but if anyone has any advice/knowledge it would be greatly appreciated! We will be getting them in the Spring so I have all Winter to come up with a game plan! Thanks everyone!!!

  2. Very few dogs eat enough poop to make themselves sick. My dogs pick up little "snacks" regularly. I always tell my boy friend to make sure they don't lick him because they have been eating things that he doesn't even want to know about. :)
  3. MsChickenMomma

    MsChickenMomma Crowing

    Dec 2, 2012
    [​IMG] Glad to have you join us! I think the dogs shouldn't be a problem as long as you get the chickens as babies, and teach your dogs from day one that the chickens are friends, not food. The road shouldn't be a problem since it is such a far distance, but to be on the safe side, build your coop farther from the road than you house is. Chickens tend to stay fairly close to their coops for safety, so being a good distance from the road should prevent them from going near it. My coop is about 500 ft from the road and only a few times have they ever gone close to the road. I don't have tick problems where I live, but I think chickens should help you take care of that problem. The dog's eating the poop shouldn't be that big of an issue either. My dog doesn't eat it, but I know lots do. My dad told me his childhood dog used to eat LOTS of chicken poop, and the dog was fine. They would have to eat a lot of it to get sick from it.

    Good luck!
  4. liz9910

    liz9910 Crowing

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California
    Welcome to BYC! Unfortunately the only way to keep chickens in a certain area is to fence them off, and regarding the dogs I highly recommend keeping them separate from the chickens, never a good idea in my opinion. I'm speaking from personal experience. Good luck to you!
  5. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome to BYC! Chickens are quite good at controlling ticks and most other bugs, and a good reason to get them. You might want to look into electric poultry netting, besides a permanent coop/run since the netting is movable. You can't really boundary train chickens, like MsChickenMomma mentioned you can arrange the area so they are more likely to stay where you want them so far as cover and where you place the coop etc. But to really keep them where you want them, you will need some sort of fence.
    Dogs will eat some chicken poop, but they usually don't eat enough to cause a problem, especially once they are used to having it around and it isn't such a novelty. It will take some time and training to get your dogs used to the chickens, hopefully both of yours will be fine with them, but do be prepared in case you need to keep them totally separate.
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    You have two dogs with high prey drive, very natural for their breeds. Be prepared to spend a lot of time training them and don't ever leave them unsupervised around the birds. Especially when they are chicks, it's just much to exciting to see and hear the little things running around and many dogs just can't resist. Train carefully and train for a long time! It's heartbreaking to go out and find your dogs slaughtered your birds.

    Don't worry about the dogs eating poop! Really no way to stop it anyway. My dogs are farm dogs, they eat poop to their hearts content!

    Something else to keep in mind: Free ranging chickens is very nice, it is also very dangerous for the birds and you will have losses. Not if, but when. Many people free range with the knowledge that this will happen, with a big flock it's easier to absorb losses. With a small flock like yours a few losses means you may be down to only a few, or no, birds very fast. Roaming dogs are the biggest threat in many areas and can wipe out a flock in minutes. But other predators are just as bad. Fox and coyote will find your flock and will keep coming back until the food source is depleted. The list of predators is long. Just something to think about. That would be the other benefit of fencing in an area for them that will keep them closer to home.
    1 person likes this.


    Sep 21, 2013
    You can learn about predators in the learning center. [​IMG]

  8. Lam005

    Lam005 Hatching

    Nov 8, 2013
    Thank you everyone for the advice! I forgot to mention that my dogs are never left outside unattended. They will only be exposed to the chickens when I am there, so that is a plus! I am glad to hear the poop wont be an issue either.
    The other issue I forgot to mention would be the other wild animals in the area. Is it possible to let them run free during the day and lock them in the coop at night? This is all new to me so any advice is welcome :)
  9. MsChickenMomma

    MsChickenMomma Crowing

    Dec 2, 2012

    That is what I have always done, and it works well. I just make sure and never forget to close them up for the night. The only problem I have ever had while free ranging in the last 3 years is a hawk that has been hanging around for the past 3 months. Otherwise I haven't had any problems well free ranging. Just don't ever free range them when you aren't home.
  10. jetdog

    jetdog Songster

    Jun 18, 2013
    Electric poultry netting is easy to move around your yard and will keep predators and your dogs away from them enjoying their ticks.

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