Weimaraners and chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by marialane, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. marialane

    marialane In the Brooder

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    My son just found out that he is allergic to his Weimaraner puppy (3 1/2 months old). This dog is super smart. Does anyone have experience with them and chickens? I know that they are a hunting dog, but couldn't any dog be trained to be around chickens? Again, this dog is really smart! Please advise if I should take her!

    Thanks
     
  2. Peck Johnson

    Peck Johnson Chirping

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    A bird dog certainly does have a predisposition to chase bird and will kill chickens unless trained to accept them and not see them as prey. Since the dog is still young it will have a better opportunity to learn

    Your situation is similar to other threads I responded to:
    Although it is very true that bird dogs can be very difficult to train not to chase and kill chickens, this certainly can and has been done. You must be able to let the dog spend time with the birds while separated by a fence or restrained on a comfortable lead. He shouldn't be in any position that he sees as punishment though, such as being confined if he in normally not confined. The dog must be able to see the chickens in their natural routines and not just as caged animals. Correct any attention the dog gives toward them immediately. If he looks at them for any more than a couple of seconds in an alert position (ears and body forward) he must be corrected. He will have to learn to lay submissively as they move about. Any chasing or following must be corrected immediately. Finally, when the dog is able to relax while the chickens are moving about you would try letting them together. It would probably take a lot of time (and I mean weeks or months) and careful attention but I think it is possible.

    Introduce early and maybe keep them separate by a fence for an extended period. Watch for any attention to the chickens and correct them immediately with a stern voice. There are many people who have plain ole muts that do well with birds, but additional care and attention is necessary. A flighty fluffy bird can be like a toy, even though the dog means no harm. That is one reason NEVER to play catch games with your dogs. You will be rewarding them for predatory behavior. They may not ever be trustworthy enough to leave unsupervised but you may be surprised.

    We successfully reconditioned a wild dog that killed to eat and hunted to survive before we started feeding her. I never had to use any force more than one time in the beginning when she went for the birds and I put her to the ground in staunch disapproval. After that I would just growl or say a sharp "Hey!" if I saw any unwanted attention. Eventually we let the birds free and the dog never harmed them, even when we were not present. I think if a wild dog can be reconditioned, almost any dog can.
     
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

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    Wymar's have boundless energy and are incredibly smart dogs, my friend owns one, and he quickly taught himself to open the door and escape outside, open the refrigerator, cabinets etc. and swallow things that ended up with him at the e/r. He is now just over a year and sort of maturing.

    A wymar 3-4 mos. old is already big enough to kill grown chickens even if they don't mean to. They are also very strong and can pull you along on a lead or drag you. I think the best way to handle an enthusiastic pup might be with a shock collar - toned down to give just a mild zap to get and keep their attention. I could be wrong but otherwise I don't think you could correct soon enough to prevent disaster. I don't know if you will be successful but, it would have been much better to start with a younger at even 6 weeks old.

    The sooner the better, before they have the smarts and muscle to get into trouble.
     
  4. bordergurl

    bordergurl Songster

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    Hi I've had weims for 10 years with a variety of birds. I taught them as pups the command "leave it" reinforced with a treat (weims are very food motivated). They never touched the turkeys, ducks or chickens. The pheasants were never loose and they really excited the dogs when they went near their pens. We used the pheasants for training the dogs to point and steady and retrieve so of course they were excited by them. My birds free range and the dogs and chickens will actually eat out of the same dish with no problems. In the late fall, I use the dogs to bring the ducks in from the pond. The most the dogs ever do is cut through the birds and make them scatter but do not give chase. They have taken out stray hens that have wandered on to our property as they know they don't belong! Weims are also great at chasing predators away. If they see a hawk, they rush it and scare it off. If wild ducks land on our pond and mingle with our own ducks, they scare those ones off.

    Weims are not the breed for everyone. Please take this quiz http://www.weimrescue.org/quiz/ before committing to a weim. There are many rescue groups across the country who will help to place your son's weim in a suitable home. And if you have more questions about weims, please feel free to PM me.
     
  5. marialane

    marialane In the Brooder

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    Thanks to all! Your time in answering my question is greatly appreciated! Husband said NO! That's OK, I'm a little emotional about it, and maybe wanted to 'force' it to work. In the future, we will be looking for guardian dogs, but not right now. Thanks all!
     
  6. marialane

    marialane In the Brooder

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    Thanks all! Husband said "NO"! I do appreciate everyone's wisdom and advice. Thanks for looking out for my chickens!
     
  7. Peck Johnson

    Peck Johnson Chirping

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    Feb 26, 2011
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    Livestock guardians dogs are awesome. I am biased of course, but I would never choose another kind of dog again.
     

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