Strange thing happening..

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sandesnow, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. sandesnow

    sandesnow Songster

    Nov 20, 2013
    Nova Scotia Canada
    So.. we have a beagle. She is trained for hunting. So when we got our hens, we noticed that there would be no way we could trust her around our flock.

    When we got our hens (A little over a year ago) she would go nearly insane trying to get at them. (Not aggressive, but the smell was driving her insane.) We would walk her by the coop to get used to the smell and did so until we were ready to let them free-range. Still, we always kept her tethered and if they went into her 'area' she would rush after them to chase them out.

    Still, I wouldn't trust her to be alone and unattended outside with them. The hens use our deck as their safe place when they are out foraging. Anything that flies overhead the run there for cover.. hard rains and such, or if it is too hot, they use it for cover. The dogs area is right next to the deck. She can reach it, but not get on it. So she can see them and watches them often. They just kinda ignore her and stay away from her area.

    Well, this month, we were having issues with the dog getting off of her tether. The clip had broken. Any time she got off, she didn't even look twice at them. As if they weren't there and she was out in the yard with them just fine. At first I nearly had a heart attack when I noticed her off. But then it happened a few more times.

    And today, the hens were with her in 'her' area, while she was tethered and nothing. No one even looked at each other, just went about their business.

    I can't say I fully trust my dog not to harm them so I keep a hard eye on them...

    But has anyone else had this happen? Where all of a sudden the dog is like... meh.. it's a chicken. It's cool now. Our cat came to terms with the hens long ago.. The hens can whup his rump, so have no fear of the cat. (They all attacked him the first time they all met him.. was the funnies thing I have ever seen! A gang of hens on a lone cat.)
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    That's basically the way to train a dog. On a tether till the anomaly becomes mundane.

    That said, a beagle has a pretty strong prey drive so it's best to be careful.

    A beagle terrorized one of my flocks so badly that they didn't lay an egg for 2 months.
  3. sandesnow

    sandesnow Songster

    Nov 20, 2013
    Nova Scotia Canada
    Agreed. Yeah we replaced her clip with a cow clip and when outside she is always tethered. It has been like that for the last 6 years, so won't be changing that. I just get nervous when the hens wander over into her area. lol
  4. petrel

    petrel Chats with Chickens

    I had a similar experience with a different ending. A caregiver was tending to my elderly father after a fall. She asked if she could bring her little dog to stay with her since our guest house is in the woods and she was uneasy there. For almost two weeks that dog made liberal use of my yard and flower beds without paying a bit of attention to my chickens. Several times each day and night the dog would walk right up to the tractor, sniff, look and walk away.

    One evening the dog simply had a change of heart and literally hurled herself against the wire of the chicken tractor, yipping, biting and snarling while trying to get through the wire! I guess a dog can change its mind just as easily, and probably more quickly, than we can! I'm not saying your dog would do this. I guess I'm saying that nothing is certain with animals.
  5. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Songster

    Apr 19, 2014
    NW Florida
    Yes, be careful. The hens will learn quickly to stay out of her area if she decides not to play nice with them. I have a Pomeraniam mix and a Beagle mix. They go directly into the back yard when they go out. However, my hens like to get into the backyard and dig around when the dogs aren't there, so sometimes I put the dogs in with the hens without realizing it. A few times, I had to call the dogs away (yes, they respond) from the hens and then catch and toss the hens over the fence away from the dogs. The other morning, I looked out and the dogs were laying by the gate watching the hens scratch around in the backyard with them! No effort to chase or catch! I finished what I was doing, praised the dogs, then caught the hens and tossed them over the fence. So, they can and do adjust. However, I don't trust mine either.
  6. ShockValue

    ShockValue Songster

    Jan 10, 2010
    West Sound, Washington
    We had a bad experience when our chicks were in the brooder. Dog pulled one chick out of a friends hand, later one chick flew out of the brooder and the dog got to that one too.

    Thought for sure we had a chicken killer on our hands.

    Fast forward 12 weeks and our son opens the door and the dog gets out. B-Lines straight for the chickens free ranging in the yard.

    Game over.. Or so I thought....

    Dog runs over, sniffs the chickens... And commences hoovering up all the chicken crap [​IMG]. Totally ignores the chickens.

    I still don't let him out unsupervised around the birds, but he rarely gives them a second glance when we do. He seems mostly interested in eating or rolling in their crap though... <sigh>

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  7. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Songster

    Jul 22, 2013
    Our outside dog is a beagle and shes never cared about the flock. When the girls first went out and into the coop/run we had a 2nd outside dog who would sit and just watch them, occasionally she'd bark at them but it was never very threatening, very "Oooooo, look toys" but never "I'M GONNA RIP YOUR HEADS OFF" [​IMG]. Nonetheless the chickens never were out of the run unless the outside dogs were put inside, we also had an inside dog who couldn't be trusted with any kind of animal. Our lab ended up getting bit by a venomous snake and died last fall [​IMG] This spring I started letting the flock free range and one day without warning all the dogs broke loose was no big deal. I was shocked, I had thought for sure the chickens would never survive an encounter with the dogs but now they are all cool with each other and the chickens even come into the dog pen. I still put the beagle inside if I'm not able to watch constantly while the chickens are in the pen but they are able to free range and the dog doesn't bark or harass them

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: