The family dog...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lillysmom621, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. lillysmom621

    lillysmom621 New Egg

    Aug 14, 2011
    Hi, new to the forum!

    Have 5 hens and one hen who decided to turn into a rooster (it's his handsome face in my profile pic).
    I have a lab/ridgeback mix, who is intrigued by my flock. Would anyone recommend a good way to introduce them all to each other, or is this just completely a bad idea. In a perfect world, I would love them to co-exist.
  2. Zonoma

    Zonoma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2011
    Northern Kentucky
    If your lab/ridgeback mix is very keyed into you, then keep them separated but allow your dog to watch you caring for the chicks. I was worried about my terriers (prey drive is high in them) so I introduced them to the chicks one at a time. Sitting on the floor with a peep in my hand I would call my dog to me and tell her to sit. Then, closing the peep in my hand still, I let her sniff through my hands to her hearts' content for their first intro. Here we are about 19 weeks later and my dogs will chase the hens back to their run when I tell them to and keep them out of the neighbor's garden even when I don't tell them to. Dogs are smart - and the best way to keep your hens safe is to prove to your dog that they are extremely valuable to you (her alpha). If she knows this, she will not only leave them alone but will protect them.

    Just don't trust them too soon. If a dog learns the thrill of chasing/killing that doesn't go away. I love dogs but they are dogs, chasing/killing prey is what they do. Especially labs! Fortunately, ridgebacks are more sedate protectors/big game hunters.
  3. lillysmom621

    lillysmom621 New Egg

    Aug 14, 2011
    Thanks so much. I have let him out when they are in their run, and he thinks it is fun to scare them and watch them fly....
    He is big and I know with his mix, he could be a danger. I am thinking of taking him out on a leash when they are ranging, and letting him smell them under my guard. I will let him know those are my girls! My rooster will throw a fit I am sure. Do you think this is a good idea?
  4. Balefire

    Balefire Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2011
    Orwigsburg PA
    I everytime interduce new chicks to my dogs, by having them in my hands and let the dogs sniff @ it, by telling them EASY. Even they are herding dog mutts, I don't trust them @ all. They are highly focused @ me, so I everytime supervise chicken-dog-meetings. Till now i did not lost a chick to this 2. In the past I lost 2 to my terrier........but this was, whwn the kids took the dogs out and didn't see, that some chicks decided to leave the pen. The prey drive in Ecco was higher than his obedience to the kids
  5. OmAnNom

    OmAnNom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2011
    Fort Bragg, NC
    I have a Scottish terrier that peacefully co-exists whit my small flock [​IMG] i never dreamed my terrier would ever be able to be around chickens, but im here to tell you it can be done! I introduced them when the hens were just little peeps so that there was never any "mystery" surrounding the chicks. Holding the chicks in my hands using our key words, like "baby" and "nice," to keep the dog calm and gentle. We allowed the dog to heard them around and smell them as much as she wanted, but never unsupervised and always using her calming key words. Now our little peeps are all grown up, free ranging in the backyard and everyone gets along beautifully. Occasionally the dominant hen will assert herself and puff up her chest, even charge...but dog pays no attention. She likes to roll her ball towards the hens, and then stands there wondering why they don't play fetch with her.

    Don't trust them too soon, but it can be done! Patience and persistence.

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