Teaching chickens to not peck my dog???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Leihamarie, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Leihamarie

    Leihamarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2016
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    Hey all,

    So, I have been working with my 7 y/o Border Collie/Aussie Shepherd mix since I brought the chicks home, letting everyone see and smell eachother in safety, etc...

    Today was the big day where he got to be out with me on leash while the girls were also out in the yard. I've spent the last couple weeks letting them both get accustomed to the way the other species moves and operates. He doesn't stress the girls out unless he gets too close to them so we were maintaing distance and peaceful co-existence to start.

    HE was doing REALLY well. Stayed nice and calm (I was REALLY proud of him), stayed laying down and actively ignored the chickens. The girls were pretty interested in him and my BPR (she's usually the bravest one) came up to investigate.

    Oh, he was perfect! Let her approach. He was DYING to sniff her up close, but stayed still and calm...

    She came up and pecked him RIGHT on the paw and SQUARE in the middle of the nose... NONE TOO GENTLY!!!!! Then all hell broke loose. He jumped up and started barking/ lunging, the girls fluttered back to their coop, it was a little tense and I was grateful that I leashed him in spite of my complete faith in his cooperation when I give him a direction.

    Poor guy, I'm sure it hurt and most of all it was totally unexpected for him! I was so busy worrying about HIS behavior I didn't even CONSIDER what the chickens might do to him! He was not injured in the slightest, but it was a big set-back in the integration process. Later, in a separate training session the BPR charged him and one of the other two got a sneak attack peck in on his tail (to no real consequence- he didn't notice the peck, but I did and shooed her away) . The other two mostly stay away and if he approaches while they're out of their run they hightail it back to the run, but that BPR gets closer and closer to him. I shooed her away but she's got an agenda, lol!

    I haven't worked with chickens before, how do I manage this situation so everyone stays safe and integrates harmoniously? My dog will learn to leave the chickens alone and let them do what they want to do, unless it's charge and peck him, in which case he will charge back and he's 70lbs so... that won't be good for anyone. Can't blame him though. If she pecked me in my super sensitive nose I'd probably have something to say about it too. :-( silly chickens!
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    I know you won't like my opine, but for what it's worth, here it is:

    IMO dogs and chickens don't live in harmony. I have known folks who had dogs that actually watched over and protected their flocks, but were shocked to come home and find their dog killed the chickens.

    With an aggressive start to the "training" I would predict only a really bad outcome.

    And IMO keep the dog and your flock separated.
     
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hahaha! I just have to laugh because I purposely set up a scenario where my Border Collie pup was likely to get the tar beat out of him by my broody little bantam. He was about 12 weeks old and that little lesson gave him a good dose of respect for the birds.
     
  4. Leihamarie

    Leihamarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your feedback. I have been working with dogs for over 10 years. I have a 1 bd duplex with a very small yard (JUST big enough for a max of 7 chickens to forage and that might be pushing it). I spend a lot of time in my yard and I have NO intention on turning my dog into a chicken guard dog but it would be nice to be able to have my dog out in the yard with me (even on a leash, for pete sakes) without him being attacked. I know how to keep him from attacking the chickens, just don't know how to keep the chickens from attacking him.
     
  5. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    Maybe negative reinforcement? A squirt from a water bottled helped me blast a bully hen when trying to reintegrate a recovered hen to my flock. It's effect was amazing.

    Good luck with the issue.
     
  6. lilcowmama

    lilcowmama Out Of The Brooder

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    I second the water bottle option. I've used a spray bottle set on "stream" to keep my pullets off the patio and to curb the bullying from the biggest one. Works like a charm! I also have two medium sized Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who have a healthy respect for my chickens because they were on the receiving end of a sharp beak when they got too close once! They all get along fine now, everyone maintains respectful boundaries.
     

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