Training a dog to herd poultry

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by richcm, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. richcm

    richcm New Egg

    Apr 9, 2008
    Hello There!

    We have a flock of 35 chickens, 18 large ducks, and 4 turkeys. WE got started with poultry 2 years ago and have gone nuts. Brutus (a 3 year old chocolate lab) was a stray that showed up about a year ago. He loves our other critters most of the time or puts up with them at other times. At feeding time, he gets so excited and runs around licking the poor chickens, ducks, and turkeys while they are trying to eat.

    He has strong desire to please us and for the past two weeks he wants to "help" with making sure all of them go inside for the night. And he does a great job with the ducks and chickens. However, the turkeys are scared to death and panic. Tonight we had 3 turkeys out and he put two of them in with great ease. The third one was a fiasco and she was so scared she just kept tryring to run through the fence. Feathers were flying and the dog was not hurting her but trying to guide her. She was doing the damage to herself trying to get away from dog.

    We need to either get the dog to let us handle the herding and stay out of the way OR we need to work with him so he can herd better.

    Are there are books or resources that might help us learn how to teach him? Anyone have experience with this or words of wisdom?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    no words of wisdom but I do think it is amazing that your lab does not eat them, we have a yellow lab that thinks they are on the menue.
  3. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    There are books you can get on training herd dogs.
    You can do a google search for "herd dog training" it willbring up several things for you. [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2009
  4. richcm

    richcm New Egg

    Apr 9, 2008
    I would agree. I was really nervous about him with chickens and he has been nothing but wonderful. We introduced him to a day-old (with supervision of course) and sniffed and looked. Next he licked her. One swipe and entire chick was wet. Then he walked away.

    We have been so pleased with him. And to think someone just dumped him out of the country!
  5. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Aaawww it is nice that doggie is helping. There are books out there to help. Look for books on training LGD or livestock guardian dogs. they have tons of great info...just remember that the dog is doing it because of seeing you do it, wanting to please you and knowing what the job, there qill also be tons of information that does not apply.

    I have a 18 week old Great Pyrenees/Black Lab cross that wants to help also. We work on it a little everyday. Basic commands and the dog obeying them are the most imporant....Stay, Sit, Down, Stop/Hold and Heel/Come. When the dog gets those down to perfection and will obey the command no matter what is have a great mix.
  6. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    You dont find many labs like that. Thier natural instinct is to retrieve birds. Sounds like you lucked out with yours. [​IMG]
  7. Bob_1109

    Bob_1109 New Egg

    Dec 22, 2008
    My healer loves to herd anything, and the Turkeys seem to be ok as long as he doesn't move in on them too fast.
  8. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    The first step in herding competition is to herd either ducks or geese -- I don't think chickens have ever been used. Which isn't to say it can't be done at home. My dogs like to chase horses and kids, but haven't shown much interest in helping me herd the chickens when I've tried. Do a search for herding dog trainers and see if there are any in your area.

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