Talk to me about your pet dogs & your beloved chickens!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by michellerene, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. michellerene

    michellerene Songster

    Apr 23, 2007
    Graham, WA
    Hello. I am new to this forum-- reading up in preparation for adding some chickens to our backyard... [​IMG] My grandparents always had chickens when I was growing up, and I've had the vision of chickens somewhere in my future my whole life-- now we finally live in a place where it is a practical reality & I'm gearing up to jump into "chickenland" by reading a lot here & helping my DH plan the coop & yard.

    Anyway, we have two dogs & that's my concern. One is a little half weiner/half chihuahua, and I don't worry about him much, but the other dog is a large breed shepherd mix. She is a good dog, but she is... a dog! One of the first things she did when we moved out here to the "country" was kill a poor rabbit who happened to wander into our yard. The chickens & the dogs will be sharing the 1/4 acre backyard. Obviously the chickens will stay in their run unless the dogs are securely locked up, but I'm wondering what precautions we need to take to keep the dogs from getting into the pen when all the animals are unsupervised. My DH was thinking that burying the chicken wire fencing and using a heavier gauge wire as a second layer around the bottom, like pig wire, would keep the dog out-- I'm wondering what else we might want to do.

    Also, has anyone had the experience of their large breed dog getting used to the chickens enough that they stop trying to go after them? I'm afraid that it will be awfully stressful to my hens to have a big dog trying to get at them on a regular basis, y/k? Anyway, just thinking through all these issues before we get the chickens! Any experiences or insights you have would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Thanks, all. [​IMG] Great place you have here, btw! Enjoying it very much!
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Welcome to the group madness!

    Sounds to me like you might have to run an electrical wire near the bottom of the me...the larger dog might try once.....but I doubt it would try again. It wont kill the dog, just a little zap on the nose..all it takes. Also, burying the fence about 6 inches, is a great idea. I burried mine...we live in the country...and I also layed a layer of AG Lime around the fence. Once this gets wet, it packs almost like cement. Good luck in your coop building, and of course, we LOVE pics!!
  3. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Songster

    Mar 29, 2007
    Welcome to BYC! I think it's wonderful that you're here researching - you'll get tons of answers from all the helpful folks here.

    Regarding dogs- I think any dog can be good with chickens and other small animals. It all boils down to training, IMO.

    Regarding fencing- burying the chicken wire and covering it with a heavier gauge wire mesh should work great.
  4. michellerene

    michellerene Songster

    Apr 23, 2007
    Graham, WA
    Thanks for the replies!

    I forgot to mention that I also have a toddler-- so hotwire is definitely out.

    How deep would we need to bury the wire, do you think?
  5. Sugar Sand Farm

    Sugar Sand Farm Songster

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Florida
    We have a full sized collie . He loves all the animals we have ie goats, horse ,geese and chickens. But when we first got the chickens and built a coop and yard we used chicken wire for the top and sides One day I heard a ruckus and low and behold our collie was inside the chicken yard. He had jumped up and over the top The chicken wire gave under his weight (he weighs around 100 pounds) He didn't hurt the chickens he was more interested in herding them but they of course did not appreciate it. Now we rebuilt the coop and yard using 1 inch fencing aound and on top . Its best to bury some of the fencing for other critters too. Now our collie stays in the yard with the goats and even plays with them. Of course I wouldn't let him play with the chickens though
  6. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    We have two labs that are always together with our chickens, they free-range, we leave them unattended and feel very comfortable knowing the dogs are with our chickens.
  7. Critter Crazy

    Critter Crazy Songster

    Apr 19, 2007
    Binghamton, NY
    My dogs get along great with the birds. The chickens walk into the dogs yard all the time, and dogs just lay there. I have even caught a few birds perched on the dogs before, have never been quick enough to get a pic tho! I have a 2yr old Blodhound/Lab Mix, and a 3 yr old St. Bernard.
  8. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I definately agree with the suggestions already made including your dh's idea of putting hog panel up, too, as a backup, so to speak. But I still think the hot wire would be a good idea. If it's only turned on at night or when no one is around. It would probably only be for a short time anyway, as a training aid in training your dogs. Once they learn that they don't want to be "nosing" the fence you wouldn't need it anymore except maybe at night. If you dog is a jumper rather than a digger, put a strand around the top of the fence. imho
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  9. 2mnypets

    2mnypets Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
    Galesburg, IL.
    Well I have 4 Newfoundland dogs and each weigh a minimum of 104 lbs. The largest at 128 lbs. so far. He's only 15 months old. I found that when I had the brooder box in the family room (the only room the dogs are allowed in) the dogs would be curious and come over and look. We used a clear Rubbermaid Christmas Tree container for the brooder box. My hubby also made out of wood and chicken wire a lid for the container. The dogs not only got to watch the baby chicks, but they got to hear them and smell them. As they got older, I would take a chick out and under a lot of supervision (DH and the 3 kids on call) I would let each dog in to get close to the chick. Later on I would let the chicks out of the brooder to clean it out and my dogs would entertain the chicks. Soon the chicks were riding on the backs of the dogs in the family room and plucking out beakfulls of fur....the spring blowing of coats x4 [​IMG]

    It seemed to work well for us because now my dogs absolutely love the chicks and we in fact used our dogs to test the strength of our fencing when we were putting it up. The fence stood true. We had a fence puller to make sure it was tight. Hope this helps! [​IMG]
  10. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    I think people thought I was a meanie last time I said this on the forum, but I'm saying it again [​IMG] - getting zapped by an electric fence does not hurt a kid any more than it does an animal. Kids of any age can be taught not to touch the wire, and they sure won't do it again if they don't listen to you the first time! You can use tape over wire if you prefer - it's easier to see, but more expensive.
    I grew up in Vermont, where every kid spent his or her childhood around animals and electric fences. We all made it to happy adulthood without being emotionally scarred by being zapped!

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