Topic of the Week - Dogs and chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sumi, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Most chicken owners have a dog or two in addition to their flock. Some keep and train their dogs as livestock guardians or flock watchers, while others find they can't trust their dogs with their birds. Keeping these two species together can be done very successfully though. I would like to hear from all you dog and chicken owners what advice you have and what your experiences were when it comes to keeping dogs and chickens together, or at least in harmony. Specifically:

    - How do you/did you train your dog(s) not to kill or mess with your chickens?
    - What is the best/most effective way to deal with/retrain a dog that killed birds already? (No cruel or inappropriate suggestions, please… Let's keep this thread friendly and informative)
    - Tell me about livestock guardian dogs (LGD's)
    - Are some dog breeds more or less prone to be a problem around the flock?



    For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
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  2. AustralorpsAU

    AustralorpsAU Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  3. PingoBags

    PingoBags Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a labrador which can be used for waterfowl and upland game.

    When the chicks were in the brooder, he showed a lot of interest but was never aggressive towards them so I would let him have
    a nosy but with me by his side.

    Later when they were in their coop, I would let him investigate while they were in the run.
    This went on for a couple weeks without an issue.

    Once the chicks were brave enough to free range, the only thing between him and the chicks was me.
    Any time he approached them, I would say no in a firm voice. It was clear to me from the start that he didn't want to hurt them,
    he just wanted to be friends.

    He has never been aggressive towards anyone or anything in his life, that's why we got that breed of dog.
    He never gets chained up and is allowed to free range with the chickens unsupervised. He shows zero
    interest in them. I've watched him from a window while he plays with his sticks in the yard, he acts like there is no chickens there.
    I have seen him chase porcupine and raccoons up a tree though, so that's a bonus.

     
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  4. neophyte17

    neophyte17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an alsatian sheperd who is good but dont trust him 100%. I have an Anatolian and he was good with the chickens from day one. They walk, scratch at the ground and even lay around him. If he sees any other animal around, he chases them away[​IMG]
     
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  5. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Overrun With Chickens

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    First of all my biggest pet peeve. Unless your dog is at least 1/2 of an actual LGD breed. IT IS NOT AN LGD! If they chase something away especially labs, it's usually because they either want to play or investigate. And this is what I have learned and what dog trainers have told me. And experienced dog people.

    I have an LGD from the day we got her you could barely drag her back into the house because she just wanted to sit out there and watch them. As a 4 month old puppy!!!!
    My relatives had a lab and who they adopted, they've had hunting dogs their whole life but decided they wanted to adopt a lab after their previous one died. The lab they adopted had been through 4 different homes, been abused, and like most hunting dogs never properly trained. They wanted to get some ducklings, and chickens, and so the day they came to get them they brought him. My LGD was out there by my free ranging chickens and we were watching the ducklings outside. Suddenly the lab grabbed one of the ducklings in his mouth! My cousin and I reached for his collar pulled his jaws apart, and said no and gave him a good whacking on the nose. No I don't consider this abusive and the fact that he has never touched a bird again proves that it worked.

    Once a dog has tasted poultry it's pretty hard from getting them not to do it again. There's the chicken and collar method, which I've heard is effective but your dog may stink[​IMG]



    My LGD will be turning 4 in March 2017. She is 1/2 Great Pyrenees, 1/4 Border Collie and 1/4 Australian Shepard. She sleeps outside in our North Dakota winters, cause what's the point of having one if it sleeps inside. The day we got her she was 4 months old, I had my first poultry 2 Pekin ducklings about 2 months old. She trotted away from us and sat down by the cage they were in. We literally had to drag her away. Every night she goes down and checks the animals, she was never trained to do this. There's many other things she does. LGDs are very smart also, I had set a trap in the spring just to thin the coon herd down and my dad got to the trap first, he knocked on the kitchen window and I said that's Shadow, my cat, he agreed, but the whole time our LGD was throwing a fit! Barking and growling when my dad opened the trap up that cat ran like I've never seen a cat run before! Turns out that was not my cat. Since she's also half herd dog she works really well when we put our cattle between the cattle guards. She knows they cannot be in our driveway or yard so when she sees one she chases it out.


    If you are looking for a dog and you have poultry or any livestock I recommend an LGD they are great family dogs but also very good with animals.


    EDITED: Be prepared to pick our porcupine quills and have the pungent smell of skunk on your LGD though
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
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  6. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine doesn't like water on her head so I got out of the car and was flinging water at her and she ran into the car[​IMG]
     
  7. RampagingHens

    RampagingHens New Egg

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    We have a black lab-retriever mix. Unfortunately, he is obsessed with our chickens and will harass them non-stop regardless of our attempts to distract or restrain him. It must be the retriever genes, as most labs can be pretty chill with chickens. He was already five years old when we adopted him. Generally he obeys our commands, but not as much with people or other distractions around.

    Once he did get loose while our chickens were free ranging. He took off at top speed chasing them all over the yard. By some miracle they all survived untouched... maybe because we have plenty of hiding places!

    So for now we've given up on training our dog to be around the hens. He stays inside and they stay outside!
     
  8. kgb6days

    kgb6days Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two boxers. Neighbor's chicken flew into our fenced yard (before we had chickens) and the only thing we found was a chicken wing and foot and a feather sticking out of one of the boxer's mouth. I don't trust my dogs and keep my chicks in a run all the time. Maybe one day but ......don't feel confident in it
     
  9. Chloza

    Chloza Out Of The Brooder

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    We have a staffy cross kelpy and when we got her she was a tiny puppy and the chickens were bigger than her. she tried to mess with the she got pecked by rose (Our old chicken) and she soon grew to like them
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  10. corbittm

    corbittm Just Hatched

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    We recently adopted a lab mix puppy and have a lab border collie mix puppy. Lilly the lab mix was introduced first to our RIR Rooster, she sniffed and almost got the talons, I think she's learned not to mess with him, when we let the others out to free range she loves to inspect. She is not aggressive towards them at all. Dunkin, collie/lab has never bothered the chickens, we even let him into the coop area when he was smaller, but now that he is getting bigger he stresses the chickens out trying to check them out. He also watches and has never tried to attack the chickens. I was worried too because labs are bird dogs but these two are just watchers so far. I think it also helps that we have two roosters and they definitely do their job in keeping the hens safe.
     
    1 person likes this.

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