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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by UrbanEnthusiast, May 3, 2016.
Anyone ever trained a dog to find egg clutches in the woods? If so, how did you do it? Thanks!!
My dad attempted to train our dog to find deer antlers. He would place antlers where the dog could easily find them, maybe with a treat. Then he would say "find the horn" over and over again until the dog stumbled to it. Then, he would praise him like crazy. It didn't take him long to figure out that "find the horn" meant that he should look for antlers because he would get treats and attention. I suppose you could try that for eggs, too.
My dogs find lost eggs out in the woods if someone has been laying outside the box. No training required! Unfortunately, they generally fail to alert me to the eggs and help themselves...
You could do an easter egg hunt of sort with your dog, using a clicker and a treat more appealing to them than eggs, your dog should actually pick up the idea fairly quickly.
Are you wanting the dog to pick up and bring you the eggs, or alert you to them? I would have these details worked out befre attempting to train the dog. But I think it is doable!!
My dog finds, then eats, all the eggs laid outside the box... She runs with them as their guard. If you can train yours to find and not eat the eggs, I would love to hear about it.
Ok all. Clicker training is a little bit complicated for me to explain, maybe somebody else here could do that?
This is how search and rescue dogs, drug and bomb sniffing dogs, and seeing or hearing aid dogs are trained. Seeing this method at work really is amazing, you can teach your dog to do just about anything!
Couple quick tips:
Clicker training basics from Karen Pryor:
Good luck and have lots of fun with this! It truly is much easier than you think.
Can dogs smell eggs, or do they have to find them by sight?
I know my dog sniffs them out, because the turkey tries to hide them and if I don't find them first, the dog uncovers them. And eats those too. Even under dense shrubbery.
If your looking to find wild bird egg clutches. It's generally prohibited by law to disturb wild fowl nests. If your looking for your own eggs that have been laid off somewhere. I'm sure its possible to train a dog to find them. But like others have said, they tend to eat them if they find them lol.
My dog makes the rounds of all known egg deposit sites on my two and a half acres, every day. She does this because she knows that what she finds is hers. That is her reward. I don't want hens to set off in the brush. Good way for them to get killed by some varmint. Also, she, the dog, knows the cackle of a hen who has just laid an egg, and she will head to wherever in the brush the hen is coming from. You could try going with your dog and finding some eggs, then give one to her, and tell her good dog.
It might be easier to re-train your hens to lay in the coop nests.
Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.