Will a bird dog be safe around my chickens???????

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by I_Love_Chickens, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. I_Love_Chickens

    I_Love_Chickens In the Brooder

    Mar 1, 2007
    Enid, Ok
    I got a puppy, hes half pointer and half weimariner. Hes adorable. I got him the other day from a friend, their bird dogs had a litter by accident. My friend's dad was mad because he didn't want to mess with them but this puppy is the most adorable accident. So my question is this, because hes a bird dog does it mean that hes not compatable with pet chickens? He seems that I can train him now that the chickens aren't food or play toys. I dunno. Just wanted to know if I made a mistake by getting this puppy. I can't see any problems if I start now and he grows up around the chickens that he would harass them or anything. So let me know what you think. Thanks!
  2. Wolf

    Wolf Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    Piedmont of Virginia
    I have a Labrador. She's spent her playtime in the pasture, with my chickens and turkeys, retrieving her Kong, learning her obedience-training, and learning her "directions" for assistance work to help me. From 6 weeks old I insisted that the "Birds are mine!" and demanded that she respect that. I also insist that my food-bowl remain "Mine!". You have to be solid in your commitment and not waver or be wishy-washy over the pup's cuteness and let it get over on YOUR stuff. Instilling that respect for your things as Pack Leader from infancy is important.
    My Hawk is 14 months old. She'll run around and play, but she won't touch "My Birds". Her play objects are her Kong and her Disk... not my birds. She will retrieve for me the eggs the girls have laid in spots I can't reach. Yes - she gets eggs in her supper-bowl... but she knows the eggs are "Mine!", and she only gets to eat them if I give them to her. When she was little, she cracked one or two - but I took them away and didn't let her keep them... "Mine!" I made sure every time, that there was no benefit to her from stealing - but plenty of applause and treats when she did good. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Just work heavily on Pup respecting Your Things!
  3. I_Love_Chickens

    I_Love_Chickens In the Brooder

    Mar 1, 2007
    Enid, Ok
    Thanks! Thats what I figured, discipline would make him a good dog. My aunt used to train dogs and taught me a lot about them. me and her are kind of distanced now due to family problems but she did teach me how to train a dog. She got my last puppy I had to learn to sit in less than 10 minutes! It was amazing! Yeah he is an adorable but I don't let him get away with anything. I got him a little pet crate to house break him and put him in it when I leave the house for now. Its funny, as mean as it sounds, locking him up in a cage, he is happier in it than being in my garage. I locked him in my garage before I got my crate and he yelped and barked and was miserable, but now that I have the cage, he doesn't seem to mind so much. Sure he doesn't seem to love it but I guess he likes being in the house. I was letting him sleep in my bed but he peed in it last night. Luckily I have a sleep number bed, its got the vinyl air chamber and then the thing that zips around it to make it look and feel like a normal mattress. The bedding on it all is machine washable and then the vinyl just washes right off. So it was a easy clean but not happening again. I'll keep the crate in the house but not let him have free run of the house when not supervised. So yeah I got the puppy under control. [​IMG]
  4. robin416

    robin416 Songster

    Feb 6, 2007
    It took me almost two years to train my half lab that the guineas were not playmates. I still watch him closely during Spring breeding season when the birds are being lunatics. My chickens are completely off limits, he gets that look. The one that says "goody, a snack" or "goody, speaky toys." I have three others, two related to him that are great with the birds, its just this one boy.
  5. pegbo

    pegbo Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    My black lab is still learning that the chickens are mine not hers!!! Now that they are getting out of their pen to free range she thinks she has to herd them back to the coop, the girls don't care too much for that!!!!![​IMG]
  6. pipermark

    pipermark Songster

    Jan 26, 2007
    You need to get the puppy in with the chickens now. They need to become part of its pack.
  7. Wolf

    Wolf Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    Piedmont of Virginia
    Dogs are Pack... being with the Family is all so important. That's why the crate-training is nicer on Pup than sleeping in the garage! LOL! Mine get treated like they were human toddlers... always with me and always being talked to and taught. Training is all day - while we're living. Even when I have an "event" that's going to happen... say the UPS-man's bringing me a box - I make her sit, look at me, and explain in simple words what is going to happen soon. That way she doesn't startle when the guy appears at my step and drops a box. When watching TV, I name things she's looking at, and explain what's happening. She's learned Horses, Cows, Airplanes, and Helicopters this way... and now alerts me and runs to look at them if they go by our place - or if we drive by them she looks at me and huffs to say she saw them. Because she's learning to assist me - I work on her vocabulary constantly... if taught, they know a lot more than folks give them credit for.
    She's spent time last year learing about chicks while I went through to process. I showed her the eggs as they pipped, she sniffed the wet chick in my hand and the empty shell (smells different than when it's an eatin' egg), then spent her spare time laying on the sofa behind me just watching the babies in the brooder-cage every day as they grew. "My Birds!" was repeated often, along with a possesive gesture from me. When they went outside she was still as fine with them, as with the older birds. When I'm in the house and somebirdy outside calls an alarm that I don't hear - she alerts me so I can go look. When someone's hiding instead of going to bed for the night - she finds them and shows me where they are. She's helped me drive off hawks that come for supper, and warns off raptors circling overhead.
  8. TheBigWRanch

    TheBigWRanch Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Training a dog to ignore it's instincts is very hard work. My neighbor had a German Pointer in professional bird dog classes, and the one thing they said is that the dog should never puncture a hole in the bird when it brings it to you. Well, all of that training didn't stop the dog from killing 5 of my chickens when it got loose. Of course the neighbors only concern was that my chickens had ruined his dog's new career, because if they kill once you may never get them to stop having that killing instinct. Training a bird dog to leave your chickens alone can be done, but it is usually too advanced training for the average person to do. I would try to find a professional to help you train the dog. Also make sure they are never left unsupervised around each other, especially when the dog is a puppy, they tend to get bored and want to play with the chickens. It will take years to really know how to predict how a dog will act when the owner is not watching. Bird dogs can be difficult to train because their instincts are to "go get that bird!" It is just very hard to control a dog's natural instincts. I think you can do it, you'll just have to work long and hard. I would advise you to get some books, and find a professional bird dog trainer, because they will teach you tricks on how to channel a dog's instincts to do what you want, and not just run wild. Every dog is different some will catch on quickly and others you will never be able to fully trust. Start training as soon as possible, they learn better at this age. I hope you have fun with your new puppy, do you have any pics?
  9. Sarah Bella

    Sarah Bella In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2007
    There was a great episode of "The Dog Whisperer" that covered exactly this. The dog was a Lab owned by the author of "Marley and Me" and had killed quite a few of the couples chickens.

    While Cesar was holding the hen in his arms the dog got close and startled the bird. The hen made a squawk and an egg rolled out. it was too funny.

    Apparently that dog no longer kills chickens.

    I don't have chickens yet but i will soon and i have a 10 month old yellow Lab so i found that particular episode very informative.
  10. Southern Chickens

    Southern Chickens Songster

    Mar 11, 2007
    NorthWest Florida
    I have a yellow Lab that I have had for nearly 6 years. He was well trained before I got chickens and he doesn't bother them. NOW HE WILL STEAL AN EGG! Don't even turn your back for a minute around the eggs. If I set one down to feed or something, if it's in his reach, GONE! I will deal with the egg snatching, because he does a great job in keeping other dogs and foxes away. He earns his eggs! I know it's not a chicken but this is my fav picture of him!


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