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Rat Terriers and Chickens

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by red-hen, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. red-hen

    red-hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2008
    Hi all,

    I remember I had bookmarked some web sites of some Rat Terrier breeders who said that their dogs were raised with and kept around chickens. They said that they were great farm dogs that were easily trained which animals were part of home, vs the undesirable critters.

    I can't find any of my links now.

    Does anyone have more info about Rat Terriers around chickens? I know not all have been raised around them - and not all are genetically predisposed towards being good farm dogs, but if you have any info I'd like to read about it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Skyesrocket

    Skyesrocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2008
    Hi,
    I have Rat Terriers and Chickens. You have to keep in mind that they are terriers so the possibility of them hurting or killing a chicken is there.
    Having said that, I have 6 Rat Brats and they are in the barn and yard daily with the chickens. Once in a while one of them will scare a chicken into running then they want to chase. I am there with them and tell them to knock it off and they stop. The chase is the game and what they are after. Not so much to kill the bird. When they do chase a chicken and get it cornered they stand and bark at it...not attack it.
    They do the same thing with the barn cats once in a while. Get one to run so they can chase it. My cats are onto them now and just ignore them. Once in a while I will catch them chasing one and yell at them.
    The exception are Guineas. Maybe because they are more flighty. My dogs did kill a Guinea. I had 8 Guineas at the time. I caught them in the act and really read them the riot act. But I wouldn't trust them around Guineas.
    Most of the time they will walk or sit or stand side by side with the chickens and as is well. But occasionally one will decide it would be a fun game to chase a chicken and the rest will follow suite. It always seems to be the same two dogs that get it started. Both females.
    What I do with my pups is get them around an aggressive rooster and sooner or later they will get into the roo's space and he will go after them. The pups don't really get hurt by the roo, but it is a lesson they remember. After that they tend to stay a lot farther back from the chickens.
    So, many many chickens free ranging for years with 6 Rat Terriers and occasional pups and one Guinea was killed. I was in the house on the phone, heard them barking and ignored it to finish my call. My fault.
    You do need to be within ear shot so if you do hear the dog barking you can supervise. I think having 6 dogs out there at the same time also creates pack behavior and makes it more likley they they will get bored and start up a game of chase the chicken.
    There favorite thing to hunt are field mice. And they are very good at it. It's interesting to watch as one will go into the center of a field area and start walking to scare up a mouse. The others wait on the outside perimeter and once a mouse is out and running the inside dog will chase it out towards the others. I never taught them how to do it. It's just how they hunt. I don't have rats here, so I have never seen them hunt them.
    Hope this helps. Carrie
     
  3. red-hen

    red-hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2008
    Ohhh thanks a million. That's great info. Thanks for taking the time.

    My b/f has had jack russell's for years and I know most of them are way outta my league as far as their prey drive and activity level (although one of his was just a living doll!) He has another terrier that I swear has to be half rat terrier and he's a mild mannered little gentleman - so I wondered if all Rat Terriers might behave like him. Your info really helps me paint a picture better in my mind. I'll have bantams and I'd like them to free range as much as possible, but I want to be careful about my doggy choices for their sake. I'm good with training, but I just didn't know their natural inclinations .. you've helped a lot.
     
  4. I have a yorkie, and he is very good around my chickens,but my roo is almost 2 times his size and thay may have a lot to do with it.My GD Little terrier mix got in the run this morning and it was a battle between her and me,With the size stick i had beating her i think i won. will know if she comes back and tries again. marrie
     
  5. chickenranchwife

    chickenranchwife Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have two rats too, and they have been good with the chickens and chicks. They know better than to chase the chickens. We had our male before we did chickens and he left them alone after we brought them home. I do find that my male don't go out to the chicken coop as much as my female, but she's the hunter and she don't harm them. They are very protective of the chickens. They alarm us when there's something outside.
     
  6. kaylakala

    kaylakala Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 19, 2008
    Melbourne Florida
    My Rat terrier Max could care less abou the chickens.
     
  7. banter

    banter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2008
    Raymond Maine
    I owned Big Ol' Bull Terriers for years and owned every small animal imaginable with zero loss.
    It's all how you raise them. We watched them and we crated them when appropriate and introduced them to each animal gradually. We were careful not to put temptation in their way.
    Just be savvy.
     
  8. red-hen

    red-hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2008
    Thanks all of you for your stories and thoughts. I feel good about this now. I think training does play a huge role - so I was glad to hear that emphasized, too. I'm a very careful person with training any critters I've ever had - I actually enjoy it. [​IMG] By the way - the yorkie would just melt me, I adore yorkies but have never had one. Lucky you!

    Where my b/f lives now is near where I'll be moving later this summer - - his little mixed terrier (the one that is such a sweetie and looks sort of rat-terrier like except for his broken coat) just MIGHT be playing daddy dog to a little female that looks just like him (except she's buff /champagne colored while he's mostly white with golden-brown patches). And guess what? She's the queen of a very large poultry farm for the people who caretake there. Between his sweet teddy-bear sensible attitude and her business like "protect the farm and chickens" attitude, those might be some nifty pups. Have to wait until she's in season though - and hope she likes her arranged marriage. [​IMG]

    I can't wait to have my little bitty farm!!!
     
  9. red-hen

    red-hen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2008
    PS: Forgot to add - when I had my doberman, she had zero prey drive since I never encouraged her to look at squirrels and wild critters. I had good luck introducing her to my bunny (Boo). He'd poke his nose on her leg from underneath and she'd pull it up to her belly and look at me like, "Mom! It touched me!!" (That's when they first met). But she was no woos when it came to barking at a threat to mom. [​IMG] She was a doll. (Wow, I'm getting off topic on my own topic .. ooops)
     
  10. banter

    banter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2008
    Raymond Maine
    I have always used the horrible growly screamy AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRr!!!!!!! sound with my dogs if they go for somethin wild or domestic inside or out.
    Works most of the time, or at least it startles them and gives you time. I also let them trail a leash if I'm not sure what's out in the yard. Gives me a chance to grab them and respond.
     

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