Dogs/puppies Getting Along with Chickens

I am wanting to get another dog. I will save one from the pound, full grown or a pup.
Thing is, we live on about an acre, of which the back yard is about half that, and we have a bunch of chickens (love the eggs), some free-ranging and some in coops.

Baby chicks run around free, sometimes gotten by the cats and maybe roadrunners. Natural selection. (Sometimes the baby chicks even fall into the shallow water pan and drown. :rolleyes: )

How in the heck can I keep an inquisitive pup, or even an older dog from chasing and disrupting the poultry? We have an old dog who lets them walk right over her, but every guest dog I have over goes nuts. I would like to be able to “train” a new dog from doing this.

Any experiences or advice would be appreciated.

When I was young, we kept ducks and chickens, and had three dogs over the years too. We gave the samoyed away because one day she killed every duck and chicken she could catch. There were no signs that she’d do this before hand, she just seemed to snap. I believe she was 3 or 4 when we got her.

On the other hand, the beagle and the beagle-husky/shepard cross co-existed many years quite peacefully with both breeds of birds, and both dogs were adults before they encountered the birds as well. Neither of them was left unattended with the birds, either, though, since we learned our lesson!

I’m not sure you can train a dog not to attack chickens when it’s not being watched. If you get a dog who has not interest, that’s lucky for you. But I’d never suggest leaving a prey species and prey together unsupervised. Bad things can only happen.
I once took care of a baby pig that had been badly bitten by dogs. The owners had 2 friendly labrador retrievers and 2 baby pigs in their back yard. They came home one day to find 2 friendly labrador retrievers, 1 pig, and 1 dead chewed up pig. Their dogs looked so innocent they decided that other dogs must have jumped the fence and killed the pig. The next time they arrived home after leaving all their pets alone they saw their own happy friendly dogs chewing on the remaining pig.

This is very true. There’s no way to guarantee that the dog won’t suddenly get it into his head to attack. He might not even mean to kill them-- he might just want to play, but if he pounces on one and kills it, he might think, “Hey, this is FUN! These things make funny noises when you gnaw on them and they can’t run fast!”*

An acquaintance of mine breeds Jack Russel Terriers. They live in an outdoor pen. My acquaintance also raises chickens, but whenever I asked him about it, he told me that they had been raised to get along with the chickens. Until he came home one day and found the entire flock dead. Not eaten, just dead. It appeared that the chickens must have lost their “toy” appeal once they stopped squawking.

  • Well, actually, his thought process would probably amount to: “Hey! Chickens! Chase! Chase!” and even that might be a bit on the complicated side. :wink:

I’m wondering if livestock-guardian breed might have a better chance of not eating the chickens than other breeds. From Dog Owner’s Guide - Livestock guard dogs (emphasis mine):

However, these are all fairly rare breeds and not something you’d be likely to find at your local shelter. Most probably have breed-specific rescue, though, but again probably not that many dogs are available. I don’t know if the propensity to not kill the sheep would generalize to poultry. Probably worth investigating, anyway.

Thanks for the responses. That’s about what I figured. I guess we will be eating free range chicken for the next couple of months, as I really want another dog. :wink:

Very interesting post porcupine and as you suggested, I will check that out.
Thanks again you all.