new dog stressing out the hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bucolic beauty, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. bucolic beauty

    bucolic beauty Out Of The Brooder

    93
    0
    39
    Mar 16, 2011
    Drain, OR
    My husband and I took in our brother and sister-in-law's dog while they and their family prepares to move and settle into their new state and home. Roo is a wonderful, wonderful dog but desperately wants the chickens. She has actually gotten a couple of them pinned down but we've been able to catch and stop her before any physical damage was done. Anyhow, we have her fenced in in the backyard but the coop and the coop door directly face the backyard where she hangs out. Anytime the chickens get close to the fence line(it's a barbed wire and wire mesh combo type fence and yes, the chickens are free-range)she makes a mad dash towards them and gets them all flustered. Eight of the chickens are 3 year old hens(the others are roughly 3 months old)that have been living with us for 3 weeks now. They were just getting to the point where they were laying 4-5 eggs a day. Since Roo came to live with us this past Friday, the egg count has been steadily declining. Today, the egg count was a big fat zero. Will they eventually become accustomed to the dog and resume laying?
     
  2. fargosmom

    fargosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    636
    5
    141
    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    How long will the dog be staying with you? If it's a short term arrangement you could try blocking the fence with potted plants (or anything to block the line of sight) so the dog doesn't seem to be "right there" with the birds. My hens have had to get used to an occasional hazing by one of my dogs, but they have plenty of places to hide where they can't see the dogs (if I can't see it, it's not there) and they've had lots of time to adjust. So for the most part it's a workable system. I let them out to free-range only if the dogs are locked in the house.

    Anything you can do to increase the birds' comfort zone will help - physical division that keeps the dog from seeing them, or them from seeing the dog. Give them plenty of hiding spots in their part of the yard, so they can relax and feel safe.

    If the dog will be a long-term addition to your family, then you really owe it to your birds to TRAIN the dog not to go after them, but that's a more involved process that may or may not end up with peaceful co-habitation. Good luck, and whatever happens, it's not really the dog's fault - it's just being a dog. Hang in there.
     
  3. bucolic beauty

    bucolic beauty Out Of The Brooder

    93
    0
    39
    Mar 16, 2011
    Drain, OR
    She'll be staying with us anywhere from a few months to a year. The fence is quite lengthy - over a hundred feet, I believe. We live on several acres in the country so there are plenty of hiding places for them. I think they're learning that the fence is a danger zone. I'm hoping this will also teach them to be predator savvy. [​IMG] Thank you for your help.
     
  4. fargosmom

    fargosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    636
    5
    141
    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    Yeah - a hundred feet would be a lot to disguise. But maybe even 10-20 feet would help - give them a spot to run to where the pursuit seems to end? Anyway I'm sure you'll get through it. Best wishes.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by