The perfect dog is not totally perfect...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ChickieNikki, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. I got a one-and-a-half year old Maremma Sheepdog/Anatolian Shepherd cross 2 weeks ago. She lives in our chicken yard, which is about half an acre. She is walked 3X a day--once in the morning for an hour, once during the mid day for about 20 minutes, and again at dark for 30-45 min. She was raised as a flock guardian, but preferred people, which is why we have her. She was raised from 6 weeks with sheep and chickens, is the perfect guardian, and other than an occasional moment of friskiness, is gentle around the chickens. They have taken to her as well, for the most part. We have 22 hens, all heavies. They're about 24 wks old, and we are only getting 4-5 eggs a day tops. We expect that the others will start laying any minute now. The layers will lay in the nest box, which is in the coop.

    The problem is this: the dog can fit through the coop door (which is a single-hung window). And somehow, she found an egg yesterday. And again today. She ate the eggs. And, clearly, I do not want this to be a habit. I scolded her for it today (I wasn't here yesterday when it happened, and my husband thought he should call me on the phone to tell me instead of doing something about it--grrr).

    So, any suggestions? I have thought that maybe we need to rebuild the ramp up to the coop so the dog can't use it (make it chicken size--right now it could hold a hundred-pound person, and it's 2 feet wide). We closed the window so the dog couldn't fit, but she apparently just pushed it open and went in.

    Any thoughts? How common is this? Hopefully this doesn't become a terrible situation, because I am totally in love with this dog, and she is outdoor only, and needs a fence, and the only place she can be is in with the chickens!

    Thanks so much for your help!
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Hmmm...could you blow out a few eggs, fill them with hot pepper sauce and then leave them in the nests for her to find and eat? If she hates it enough she might decide eggs aren't worth it any more....
  3. slightlyscrambled

    slightlyscrambled Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    is it possible to rework the nest boxes so she cant get to them?
  4. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Sounds like you need to rework the whole pop-door arrangement. The chickens only need an opening about 10" wide and 12" high. I doubt she could fit through that! Perhaps a corner just inside to totally throw her off...
  5. dovecanyon

    dovecanyon Songster

    Oct 15, 2009
    Niland, CA
    You may have to start using the type of nests that are used for egg-eating chickens. The eggs roll into an area behind the laying section where the chickens, (dog) can't get to them.
  6. maybe i can put heavy black cloth across the nest boxes, with just a 10X10 in opening at the top of the little gangplank that leads up to them. That way it's too dark for the dog to see and too small for her to fit? maybe I'll need to use some wood--a 2x4--at the opening?
  7. sillybirds

    sillybirds Songster

    Aug 5, 2008
    Quote:As you know, dogs have great sense of smell, so a cloth across the nest boxes probably isn't going to be helpful. I agree with suggestions to make pop door smaller/add corner at entrance.
  8. Caincando1

    Caincando1 In the Brooder

    Oct 16, 2009
    Dodge Center MN
    It might be better to work on the behavior instead. If the dog can't fit in the coop and a preditor gets in the coop before the dog gets to it, well then the dog can't get in to protect the hens.
  9. ducks4you

    ducks4you Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    Why not train the dog NOT to harvest eggs without permission? My dogs don't do it, and they're smaller. I catch them helping themselves and tell them, "no." They listen. If not, they get put into their individual crate for a couple of hours to think about it. They do get eggs occasionally-GOOD FOR THEIR COATS. I even had to teach them to close their mouths on the egg to break the shell.
  10. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Quote:This is what I did with the last two tractors I built. Big enough for the chickens to get out, too small for the dog to get in.

    Unfortunately the turkeys are absolutley unable to figure out that they came OUT that pop door so they can go back IN as well!

    But it works OK for chickens.


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