What dog protects chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kcallis, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. kcallis

    kcallis Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 20, 2008
    I've lost a couple of chickens the last few weeks to an unknown predator. I would like to find a dog that will protect them. I live in the city with a small back yard and a smallish house, so it can't be a big dog. Any suggestions?
  2. tfpets

    tfpets Mmm, tastes like chicken

    It really depends on the dog, your family, and your situation. I lost my flock to my own dogs last year. There are dogs that are bred to guard livestock, but most of them are large. In general, dogs consider other animals prey, it's an instinct. You have to train that behavior.
    Terriers or small dogs like you may want in the city can rarely be trusted around birds. They are hunter/killers. It's in their little natures. I hope you find what you want, but I think you would be better off identifying the predator and removing it/them, than trusting your flock to a dog as a protector. JMO.

  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    A very very very very very, can I emphasize VERY well trained dog. Add a bit of breed type and lots of training and you may get one you can trust with the birds.
  4. RickiHupp

    RickiHupp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2008
    Newark, Ohio
    We have a sheltie and she lays with the chickens in the daytime, herds them into the coop at night!! She has never been trained NOR has she ever been around chickens before!! One day, she just did it!!
    **This is NOT normal** most dogs would kill the chickens, I dont know why Abby likes them so much!!

    I know that shelties were bred to be herding dogs so maybe if you got a pup and raise it with the chickens they would be good together [​IMG]
  5. mksenoj

    mksenoj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 12, 2008
    UpState, New York
    I know this will be a knock at my dogs but I must tell you first how my trainer stopped the problem.

    I have four Labradors! Yes bird dogs that love my chickens and protect them as they free range. The trainer advised me to let one dog out of the cage and have a heavy tow chain that makes plenty of noise. Each time the dog goes in the direction of a chicken throw the chain in front of them. The first two dogs didn't have a problem with only seeing and hearing this once. The other hunting males needed to hear a loud NO with the chain being thrown and they stopped. My first two labs are show and as I mentioned the last two are hunting. All four bird dogs but they stay away from the chickens and bark when other birds are in the area. Also noticed my one lab run in the woods after something. We have plenty of fox around here.
  6. ears73

    ears73 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    Westchester, NY
    We have three dogs - the pug thinks she is a chicken (or wishes she were one.... those yummy scraps, why oh why are they not MINE!). The pitt/dalmation mutt is a killer of all things: raccoon, possum, squirrel, chipmunk, heck even strange dogs (tho thankfully we caught him before real damage was done then put in a fence) -but he learned right away that those chickens were above him in animal rank. He is an awesome protector. However, the vizsla, a bird dog, is a little slower to grasp the concept. He likes to eat their poop (ewwww!) and follows the fuzzy butts around waiting for it. I have to watch him now that we have little two month old chicks cheeping around. He has that I-am-wayyyy-to-fascinated look about him, which is an indicator of trouble.

    I have heard about people raising a dog/puppy in with the chickens so they learn right off, but I don't know the details on that. Just know way back people used to do that.

    Good luck!
  7. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Could you keep the chickens in a protected pen and/or coop? There are a lot of compact designs that would blend in to your space. That is really the best way to protect your chickens.
  8. Felicitas

    Felicitas Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:What you say above about your sheltie's behavior being not normal isn't true - it IS normal for a sheltie, it would be more abnormal for a sheltie to attack the chickens. Welsh Corgis were actually bred to herd and protect poultry and shelties were historically used for this purpose, too. Here's a photo of a Corgi guarding a chicken flock:


    You can read about this dog at http://www.freewebs.com/dogsavvy/dogs.htm
    down to the section titled Kachina's Windtalker Legacy.

    And here's a bit from a page about the history of Corgis:
    " the corgi in Britain was used as a guardian of the farmyard and helped to collect the domestic fowls. With poultry wandering freely around the farmyard, there was always a risk of them being taken by predators, and the corgi could guard against this. They were also quite useful in gathering the flock so that they could be housed for the night. When the huge flocks of geese were reared in Wales as a source of income, they were always a problem to guard. Taking them to market was quite a chore, and the only way to get a large flock of these large, quarrelsome geese to market was to drive them along the road to the town holding the market. Corgis were unsurpassed in this task, and working in teams along roads they knew they could anticipate any moves for escape a flock might make. They were fairly silent workers, as too much noise would only serve to scatter the flock, yet they were strong willed enough to control any goose that lagged behind or strayed."

    The most dangerous dogs to have around poultry would be the sighthounds: greyhounds, whippets, wolfhounds, rhodesian ridgebacks, afghans and related breeds. Those dogs are bred to chase small fluffy animals and kill them - that's their historical purpose just as Corgis' historical purpose was to herd and protect.

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